Adrienne Jones's Reviews > The Ladies' Lending Library

The Ladies' Lending Library by Janice Kulyk Keefer
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Jun 21, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: 2009, fiction, canadian-author

** spoiler alert ** Every summer I pick up some cool Canadian fiction to counter the rising mercury. This practice has introduced me to some of my favorite books (Latitudes of Melt) and authors (Jane Urquhart).

This summer's selection just didn't stand up to the shimmering brilliance of previous Canadian authors.

The Ladies' Lending Library had too many dangling narratives and blind alleys to be satisfying. The rich atmosphere I anticipated was bland to the point of drab. The characters were (unintentionally) too similar to differentiate and wandered in and off stage randomly.

The story wanted to contain a coming of age story a la To Kill a Mockingbird, a Gatsby reprise in which a defeated Jay eventually wins the girl, a Ibsen-drawn wife fighting the oppression of her social role, and two different Holocaust narratives plus a bit of Sister Carrie. The book's multitude of directions and voices turned quickly to noise.

With some editorial guidance and careful decision-making, Kulyk Keefer might become an author to follow, but this book is simply to muddled to know.
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Ellie Revert I felt the same way, but you expressed it much better than I did!

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