Unbridled's Reviews > Giraffe

Giraffe by J.M. Ledgard
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Sep 17, 07

did not like it
Read in September, 2007

Overall, there is nothing inherently wrong with the prose, though I must admit to scoffing early when he described an "azure" sky and the color of blood as "crimson." The prose can be mannered, superficial, and cold, which is probably the author's intent – use of the monochrome to evoke numb and dreamy characters wandering through a sterile, meager, Communist state (never heard that one before!). There were many small things I did not like: like the four or five first person voices (including a giraffe), all of which sounded like the same narrator; or the psychic gypsy lady scene (unintentionally laughable); or amateurish dream sequences (literary onanism); none of this is drastically offensive. But there's something else, something invasive, like an acrid odor, which I can only approach obliquely: I think the book means to be a novel, desperately wants to be a novel, does its best impression of a novel, but, in the end, feels like an "inauthentic" novel – as if it is instead the palimpsest of another kind of writer, not a novelist, the etchings over what was once a novel, now lost. The author, as I would learn in the dust jacket, is a journalist – and lo, behold my answer. Once I learned the book was based upon a "true story" (also from the dust jacket), it became difficult to finish the book – not because I knew what would happen but because the writer was better suited to reporting this story as straight journalism rather than imagining the unknowns into fiction. Am I suggesting a journalist cannot make a good novelist? Of course not. But what I am suggesting, is that not every kind of professional writer makes a good novelist.
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