Literary Blog Hop:
May 12 - 15
The Literary Blog Hop is hosted by The Blue Bookcase! This week's question is:
What books have you read that have been hyped as literary and, in your opinion, were not?
I generally try to avoid books that are being "hyped as literary" (or hyped in general). One exception that I made was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. (Before going further I feel I need to alert the many who loved this book that I did not.) I still remember seeing the book in a bookstore near Union College in Schenectady New York. The promotional material and the blurbs on the dust jacket convinced me that this was not only literary, but it was a mystery with books at its core. The opening chapter seemed to confirm this conviction; but, alas, this novel soon soared to the top of my list for books that failed to meet my expectations.
After a wonderful and mysterious opening with what seemed to be a tremendous premise the book meandered off into mediocrity. To say that I found this book disappointing would be an understatement. The author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, has written a book with many plots and subplots that do not seem to cohere in a reasonable fashion. The result is ultimately dissatisfying. The language of the novel was strange at best, but too often trite or hackneyed. Neither the scenes of violence (both graphic and jarring) nor the love scenes were portrayed successfully. While the notion of a "Cemetery of forgotten books" is a lovely one, appealing to this reader, it was ignored for much of the novel which seemed to be appended to the concept rather than connected with it. The novel seemed to slow down in the middle without sufficient suspense to support it. A much better book with a similar theme is Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas. It is both more suspenseful and better written - a delightful, if not truly great, read.