Suzanna's Reviews > The First Man in Rome

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough
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's review
Dec 22, 2011

bookshelves: didn-t-finish
Read from December 16, 2011 to January 16, 2012 — I own a copy

Oh, my. I do love historical fiction... but this one is a struggle for me so far. After about a week of reading a few minutes here and there, I'm on page 21, which really is just a handful of pages into the novel. I feel like so many characters were introduced in the first few pages of the story, and so many locations, all with difficult yet similar names, I am going to need a spreadsheet to keep them all straight. There are occasions in the past when I have started ignoring names in a book, and just interpreting what I am reading in generalities, and I'm afraid if I keep plugging along that may be what I have to do in this case. I should have known, since in the beginning of the book is a list of characters that is three pages long. The idea of poking my way through hundreds more pages of this book is more than daunting.

I'm having another issue, also. At times, the feel of the novel is changing too much. Sometimes it is a bit like reading a play, sometimes it seems to want to be funny, sometimes serious, sometimes informative. While these differing concepts are not necessarily exclusive to each other, the change is not smooth feeling. To have so much go on in so few pages - sometimes within a single paragraph - feels awkward and incongruous to me.

Right now, it seems a lot of effort coming from the reader to make this book work. I am setting it aside for the moment; perhaps I will get into a better mindset for this book at a later date.

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