Eli's Reviews > Bone

Bone by Fae Myenne Ng
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Apr 01, 15

bookshelves: fiction, 2008
Read in February, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Ng's writing is stylistically beautiful, vivid and evocative. I wanted to like this book. But nothing happens. And while I favor character-driven fiction over plot-driven, the characters do have to drive something. A book where nothing happens isn't worth the time. Ng blows her hand by telling us everything in the first few pages; then, when the entire 2nd half of the book is flashback, there's nothing new to learn. She sets up the mystery of why Ona jumped and then gives us nothing to go on. And the hopeful ending isn't all that hopeful when we already know what happens after it. At least, I think we do. The book operates in 3 different timeframes, and knowing which one we're in when is devilishly difficult. A frustrating book made moreso by the promise that seems to be wasted.
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Ying I think the reverse temporality has to do with Ng's representation of melancholia. Even if she does "blow her hand" in the beginning, the rest of the story is really dedicated towards uncovering all the truths repressed and denied by the family members in an attempt to understand Ona's death, and to finally be able to grieve properly, and to realize that there was love in all of this! Love, love, the theme of grand restoration! This can verge on extreme kitsch and cheez, but if you come into this book with some knowledge on psychoanalysis, you can really untangle more of her prose. Just some thoughts, since I feel some ratings of Bone here are unjustified!


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