Jul 28, 07
Women who love descriptive writing
Read in July, 2007
Investor Warren Buffett has said, "That which is not worth doing is not worth doing well."
So then, are those characters which are not worth writing about worth writing about brilliantly?
That was the question this book left me asking. Essentially, this book can be reduced to the coming-of-age of two sisters and an eccentric aunt. The author deserves little credit for character development because her two main characters, to whom she subjects an odd and tragic childhood, eventually arrive at nothing very far from normal: one is very concerned with appearances and the other is a free spirit.
If the genius of this character development is that two persons accomplish the blessedly mundane, that's fine; but it belongs on "Oprah" and not among the Western canon's greatest works.
Make no mistake, though: Robinson has true talent. She observes things and describes them in original and florid ways. Her writing is everything that our high school creative writing teachers told us writing should be.
But then, for some of us, spending 65 words on how a character eats a marshmallow, in a novel that hasn't even 70,000 total words, is decadent, if not absurd.
At some point I'll read Gilead; I try to read all the Pulitzer winners. But after Housekeeping, honestly, I'm in no hurry.