by John Gardner
Okay, so has anyone out there read this book and can tell me more about it? Because I\’m really wondering if it has any merit to continue on, or should I just throw it down as I feel wont to do. I looked at some reviews online to get a better feel of this book- seems people either love it as being a great work, or find it awful and tedious (as I did). This is as far as I got: it\’s a turn-of-the-century novel about two elderly siblings in a farmhouse and the man hates his sister and locks her in a bedroom where she reads a crappy novel that\’s also interspersed in this novel. And they plot against each other. And the old man is bitter and scornful of everything around him. I was intrigued by one aspect: how the elderly people felt proud of their skills and knowledge and looked down on newfangled inventions that made life easier. One scene in particular was vivid: the old man smirking at another on the roadside whose car (new invention) had stalled from the cold, while he sat up high on a sleigh pulled by two strong horses- warm living flesh that would always function, not rendered inert by cold like the machine. The description of him baffled me, though. I picked this book up because I remember liking Grendel (same author) in high school, but this one I don\’t seem to be able to read. The long-winded descriptions loose my attention and the characters confound me- I don\’t understand them, and I don\’t like them so I don\’t care to try more.
Abandoned 440 pages, 1976
I tried it, too on someone's recommendation, and I ended up quitting only a few chapters in. Never been sorry about it, either.
So I'm not alone in that assessment!