Friday, November 11, 2005

Nasty is ...

Still reading the 11th century book. I do think some bits are very good. It's gritty in setting, and there's only been a one or two 'authenticity' slip-ups (only an archaeological pedant like me would pick 'em out!) But my next 'problem' with it is that virtually everyone's just plain nasty. And they normally are in this author's books. Sometimes reading the novel is like serving penance for something one didn't do!

I have read books which have covered similarly serious, awful stories, and yet haven't been totally brought down by them, because the author throws a line to the reader and shows the human spirit in a good light somewhere along the line. There's some sort of redemption, some sort of hope, some sort of joy that is paid for in the most horrendous manner. I haven't finished the book yet, but am uncertain if I'm willing to wait for 700 pages to see if the lead character's spirit triumphs.

I'm sure that the 11th century book is generally correct in following the nasty line. Rather like Rome on the BBC at the moment. However, at least the Romans aren't talking in a highly stylised manner - which actually makes their behaviour all the more shocking: they speak like us, perhaps they were like us ... But the 11th century book has alienated me by overplaying the nasty hand.

As a package, I don't find the 11th century book convincing. Which is a shame, as the author has patently done her research and has tried hard to get into the minds of the lead characters. Or is it that I just like reading soap operas?!


At 9:58 pm GMT, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Well, I can't guess what book you're reading, thus I don't know if I would find it too dark and nasty as well. I've read some dark books I liked, but mostly I prefer bittersweet with some good aspects, some hope left in the end. That's what I'm writing, too, though at least one of my MCs, Talorcan from Storm over Hadrian's Wall is rather dark for a MC. And his less dark friend Cailthearn is the one who dies. But my other MCs are just humans, I hope, with good sides and bad sides, and mostly the good sides prevail (except Alastair O'Duibhne from Kings and Rebels who is perfectly balanced between good and bad - he's fun to write).

What peeves me off in a MC is whiny. I never got through the Thomas Covenant books because of that. It was not that he committed a rape, it was his constant whining about how bad his situation was that kept me from finishing the book.

At 10:49 pm GMT, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Yes, I know what you mean. A bit of balance wouldn't go amiss!


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