Georgina Bruce's Reviews > The Drowning Girl

The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan
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Apr 29, 12

Read from April 19 to 29, 2012

It seems harsh to give only 2 stars to a novel that is technically quite accomplished and which is not full of bad writing. But something about CRK's work just leaves me cold. It's a shame, because in theory, the subject matter of this book is right up my street - an unreliable narrator, ghost story, haunted painters, fairy stories, etc. But this didn't develop into... well, anything much.

The characters are unlikeable, pretentious and humourless. They are all so miserable you wonder how they manage to drag themselves through the day, with never so much as a cheery smile or a lighthearted joke to leaven the unremitting gloom. I didn't feel engaged or moved by Imp, or anyone else in this book. I did not care one little bit what happened to anyone in this story.

This novel did not scare me. AT ALL. As with The Red Tree, I am completely flummoxed as to how any reader found this remotely creepy in any way whatsoever. There is no atmosphere, no tension, no mystery. All the novel's workings are just laid out for anyone to see. You never forget that you are reading a novel. You never lose yourself in some scary mystery/other world/other person's mind.

I've seen a lot of five star reviews and WOW-ing about this novel, some of them from people I think very highly of, so I recognise that mine are minority opinions. But I suspect there is something of the Emperor's New Clothes going on here. Despite the technical flourishes and some fine phrasing, I felt the writing was soulless. There a lot of 'darkness' and misery and gothery (not a real word) but it doesn't go deep. I wanted to like this, I wanted it to live up to the hype, but for me it really didn't.
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Michele you are not alone....

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