So, to be honest, Miranda's endless fantasising about G.P. got on my last nerve. Felt like a very 1960s quasi-erotic middle aged man's writinOooookay.
So, to be honest, Miranda's endless fantasising about G.P. got on my last nerve. Felt like a very 1960s quasi-erotic middle aged man's writing of a twenty-year-old girl. That was the big thing for me. I can't give a book 4 stars when I was skimming it relentlessly to get away from "Miranda sleeps with one older man and thinks about him constantly" while she's imprisoned. The class waffling is also somewhat dated, but not quite as bad as that might suggest. It's creepy, well-written, and compelling. I really enjoyed the dual timeline and Fowles has obviously put a heck of a lot more thought into this novel that many of the C-grade books that sort of timidly try to imitate it: the bizarre subgenre of crime novels revolving entirely around pretty young women kidnapped by bad (and, worse, dull) men and imprisoned in impenetrable dungeons. (Yes, aliens, there's literally an entire subgenre about it. I know, I worry for humanity sometimes, too.) However: this is a far better calibre version of that.
Other than that, I'm also a bit baffled by all of you who said Miranda was a passive whiner. She did pretty well, in my opinion. A heck of a lot better than I'd be able to cope with being abducted by someone as freaking boring and inhuman as Frederick. Also, I completely forgot his name and persisted under the illusion that the book never named him for the last 40% (Miranda's diary). It also perhaps would've been more impactful as I didn't really feel we got a new take on the situation through Miranda's POV, and there were some true Lord of the Flies clangers. Having flashbacks to "Piggy represents knowledge because he wears glasses"? I mean, the main thing was Miranda calling her captor Caliban in all her diary entries. I mean, Christ. It just reminded me of the relentless "memorise literary allusion" strategy to English I had at GCSE.
The ending is haunting, if somewhat predictable for this subgenre. Despite some unimaginative (or maybe just so frequently-borrowed in modern lit that it no longer has the impact it should have), these are two compelling characters with an interesting take on a very influential book. Creepy, offbeat, and compelling....more
Until Tatiana reviewed this, I realised I'd actually forgotten to do so myself. And, frankly, skip this one. Please. I'm saying that to protect you.
ThUntil Tatiana reviewed this, I realised I'd actually forgotten to do so myself. And, frankly, skip this one. Please. I'm saying that to protect you.
The Bunker Diary made me think of my seriously unsettled view of True Art Is Angsty. The Bunker Diary is relentlessly miserable, depressing, and unforgiving. Think of the worst ending you can think of and triple it. It's well written, it's well structured, but it's not good.
Yes, I have no doubt that those of you who loved it (and possibly Brooks himself) will think that that's just part of the territory when it comes to writing a book as dark and raw as this one: "You just didn't get it." But, you guys, I love dark. Really, I do. I am the audience for this book.
But there is a significant difference between a type of dark that resonates, and one that doesn't. The Bunker Diary is nasty. I love horror, and nobody can deny that horror has its own propulsive power, whether or not you like it. Horror is thrilling and involving and haunting. The Bunker Diary is sort of haunting because Brooks thinks that he can cram in every possible atrocity that man does to man, and it probably won't be panned because a. he's Kevin Brooks and b. True Art Is Angsty.
I concede: it's incredibly suspenseful and many of the clues (were there multiple kidnappers? was one of the 'hostages' actually an accomplice themselves?) are fascinating, so I can't give it one star. Brooks IS too good a writer for one star.
But it builds to nothing. Realistically, perhaps - but the problem with this kind of realism, that sticks with nihilism at all costs, is that it has to be justified, for me at least. The darkest ending I've ever read (1984) is also my favourite, because it feels like the only (galling, frustrating, despairing, beautiful) ending the book could've had. The Bunker Diary occasionally pretends to have thematic resonance...of any kind. It doesn't, not really. The Big Brother cameras, the clues, the arc words ("You just think about that") build to nothing except gore, violence, death, violence, gore. There's no other reason for its existence, and I actually feel kind of pissed off because Brooks essentially implies there's more going on for the whole novel. He keeps teasing and teasing and teasing, and it's not the fact that it's unsolved, either. It's the fact that there seems like there was never a solution, and no answer in the first place. The Guardian review asked: "Is there less here than Brooks is implying?" Yes, there is. There's not really anything here.
Seriously, I don't really care if (view spoiler)[everybody dies (hide spoiler)], but I want to be made to care for some reason. I wasn't (except for Jenny, who basically only counted because Brooks threw in every "child in distressing situation" trope he could think of.) I did also like Linus, and his backstory was incredibly interesting, but you can only get so far on a plot that's been done better (if not with any more justification per se) by short stories. Yes, it was intense, it was compelling, but it wasn't WORTHWHILE. It had nothing new to say about man's cruelty to man, abduction or even violence. This is not early-day Saw, with its violence paid off by serious questions and plot twists. This is latter-day Saw, with gratuitous violence and perhaps some pretence at intelligence or depth, but nothing more so than that. Of course Brooks can make it sound good; he's Kevin Brooks. But that doesn't make it good.
Horrible, yes, but more unforgivingly - flat and pointless. Pass. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more