Kirsten's Reviews > Shade

Shade by Neil Jordan
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Feb 29, 08

bookshelves: read-pre-12-07, owned
Read in November, 2004

From the description on the back of this book, it sounds like The Lovely Bones, but it's really not. Yes, there's a murder, yes, the spirit of the woman murdered has some awareness of what occurs after her death. But in reality it begins with a murder, then narrates the events leading up to it. It's more truly a literary novel about love, lust, and thwarted passions of all kinds.

I enjoyed it, but I've only given it 3/5 because it's one of those novels that constantly reminds the reader that it's a novel, and I found that bothersome in this case. The point of view changes frequently, and often switches from first to third person. The way the characters speak adds to the artificiality as well; there are whole huge sections of dialogue that seem utterly improbable. One that particularly struck me was supposed to be an early morning conversation in the kitchen while the teakettle boiled, but the first sentence goes like this:

"I remember his letters, in your handwriting with his syntax, an oddly comforting juxtaposition of elements if I may say so, you two had become the one creature at last, elegant yet unlettered, the occasional erudite word sitting like an awkward jewel among the plain and pithy sentences."

Lovely, yes, but not particularly realistic, coming as it does from an uncolleged, hungover Irish woman before breakfast. So, if you feel like you might enjoy it nonetheless (as I did, to some degree) or if you really LIKE highly wordy, somewhat self-important novels, check it out. If you're looking for The Lovely Bones, pass.
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