Katy's Reviews > Troubles

Troubles by J.G. Farrell
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's review
Jun 10, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: not-quite-finished
Read from November 29 to December 11, 2011

Couldn't finish it. Might pick it up and try again later. In my quest to read all the Booker Prize Winners, I am giving myself one "pass" since this was awarded later :) Will come back to it... Some day.

Review from Book Club:

Okay. Full disclosure, I cannot finish this book. The Lost Booker Prize is lost on me! I made it through about 220 pages before throwing it in today. I do have some questions for those of you who were able to read it, though.

What are your overall impressions of the characters in the novel?

I felt that even though we spend so much time with the Major, and learn so much about the other characters through his 'filter', we don't really know much about the Major himself. There are clearly glimpses in to his past, and he obviously has some post-traumatic stress going on, but I never felt like I got to "know" the major. Which made me lose interest.

Would you like to spend a night in the Majestic?

The Majestic Hotel might have actually been my favorite "character" in this novel. The Imperial Bar "boiling" with cats, all the Old Lady residents scowling at the Army, the crumbling tennis courts, and a rotting sheep's head in the washbasin. This place sounds in turn endearing, quirky and downright horrifying. I loved Farrell's descriptions of the hotel.

How did you feel about the "framing" of the novel?

I thought it was very interesting the way Farrell including news blurbs and insights to the escalating crime and unrest. Some of the blurbs were very bizarre (Young Girl Gets Hair Chopped Off) and sinister. I did wonder about where they were supposed to be coming from though. Were these supposed to be just notifications, or actual headlines, or ones that Farrell made up? I liked what it added, but didn't quite understand it.

So, for those of you who read this one, KUDOS. You are more committed to this project than I am! For those of you who started, but did not finish, what did you think? Why did you stop reading? Would you pick it up and finish it later? Why or why not?

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts. It's a very.... odd book.

Katy i am reading all the Booker Prize winners... this one wouldn't be one I picked up on my own, that's for sure. It's... weird. So far, the have all been like this!

message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Interesting choice. I've been wanting to read more of the Booker Prize winners (if you haven't read Wolf Hall yet, do it, it is one of the best books I've ever read), but maybe I'll have to be a little more cautious in my choices...

Katy I'm reading them in order from award year. Troubles is the "lost Booker Prize, it was awarded later b/c there was a transition year. I am looking forward to reading out of the 1970s, can't wait for Wolf Hall!

message 5: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben You're right, it is a tough book to get through. There was a certain point (honestly I don't remember so far out) at which the action (as it were) picked up and I felt myself falling into the rhythm and rhyme of the book.I think the lack of a grasp the reader seems to get on the Major is fairly purposeful, as his general detachment is reflective of his (as we'd now call it) PTSD and a significant part of Farrell's commentary within the novel. We see a young man who's scarred by war, coming home with no real purpose and becoming mired in the insanity and seeming never-ending conflict in Ireland; essentially moving from one battlefield to another. Though in this case the trenches are more mental than physical.

Jean Farrell I'm nearly finished with this book, and I can't wait for it be over. I am so bored. I usually abandon books that bore me because there are so many books, so little time, but this is so highly praised, I kept thinking that there is something wrong with me for not loving it, and I decided to slog through until the end. I must be missing something, because I actually don't care how it ends.

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