Bethany Miller's Reviews > Shards

Shards by Ismet Prcic
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Jun 27, 2012

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bookshelves: first-reads
Read from June 21 to 26, 2012

I won a copy through Goodreads. Can't wait to start reading!

2.5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. Some of the writing was really good, but there were some sections where it got a bit convoluted and confusing. There are a lot of layers here. The book is a work of fiction; however, the author has the same name as the main character and he mentions Eric Carlson, the name of another character, in the acknowledgements. Within the book, Ismet is attempting to write a memoir, but finds himself adding details that aren’t real though they feel real to him. In addition, there is the story of Mustafa which both intersects with and reflects Ismet’s experiences. So… yeah, it gets a little confusing at times. I did think the novel’s structure was interesting and forced the reader to contemplate what actually happens in the world of the story and what comes from the imagination of the character Ismet as well as how much comes from the author’s own experiences.

There were a couple of issues that kept me from truly enjoying the book. Only a very cold hearted person could read this book and not feel sorry for Ismet, so I pitied him, but I didn’t really like him. Throughout the book, his reliance on women (including his mother and all three girlfriends) to make himself feel complete really annoyed me. The reader does not really get to know American girlfriend Melissa except as the object of Ismet’s affection/obsession, but boy did I feel sorry for her. I found myself thinking, “Break it off before he pulls you down with him!” (No wonder her friends hate you, Ismet. Could you be more stalkery?) Because clearly Ismet has to deal with his own issues and figure out who he is before he can have a successful relationship with anyone else.

I was also bothered by some of the language in the book. Though I'm not opposed to realistic language (I don’t think I’m a complete prude), there seemed to be an overuse of derogatory terms for female anatomy. You can chalk it up to realism, but to be honest those words grated on me a bit.

Overall, I have to say that I found this book to be a pretty big downer. Other reviewers mentioned passages that they found humorous, but they were pretty few and far between in my opinion. Ismet and his mother are both profoundly depressed and there are no happy endings here. I have no problem reading serious books that discuss serious issues, of which there are many in Shards, but I like a little bit of light to balance out the dark, and for that reason, this just wasn’t my cup of tea.
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06/21/2012 page 77
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