I don't want to mislead you, though - for that listing of topics might make the novel seem more interesting and coherent than it actually is.
Before we delve deeper, let's have a peek at the titillating American cover:
|Just kidding; this totally isn't sexy at all.|
I have to say, there is something about this book that is magical. For while I didn't particularly like the writing, thought the Victorian era, rather than coming to life, comes out rather stilted instead, and found the fantastical passages and shifts in point of view to be disconcerting and rather annoying, I did, for the first half of this novel find myself coming back to it far too quickly. I was like the clingy girlfriend who pushes the guy away because she's already creating wedding invitations after their third date - except that I didn't even really like this guy I was trying to force myself on in a Jennifer Love-Hewitt-esque move.
|I feel your pain, cheezburger pie chart|
I kept reading it, so obviously the book wasn't horrible. It just wasn't very good, either. The protagonist is not very likable, which is obvious from the fact that as a reader, you aren't particularly saddened by the ending. [Warning: I'm about to get spoiler-y.] The ending is very Victorian - the protagonist Catherine Sorgeiul is going to be alone for the rest of her life in order to avoid the evil men with whom she came into contact for the majority of the novel, devoting her life to becoming an invisible, unmemorable person who would not be mentioned in the history books. However, I have a feeling that the reader is supposed to feel slightly saddened at this fitting ending; I was not.
With regards to the writing, I felt like the novel is written in a confusing manner that does not make it entertaining. Chuck Palahnuik's writing jumps all over the place and confuses the hell out of you, but at the end he draws some things together, and while confusing, it is a fun, clever, interesting ride. This novel jumps between characters, jumps between fantasy and reality while tending to be most confusing during random sentences that are supposed to be "real" passages, and seems rather unfocused, in general.
Are you trying to write about how the Victorian era was stifling to the lesbian urges that many girls naturally felt? Are you trying to delve into the mind of a psychopathic killer? Or show the reader that it's not possible to delve into the mind of a psychopathic killer? Or talk about how fucked-up family can be?
|No, no - more fucked up than this.|
Really, whatever the purpose of this novel was, I could not discern it. Or perhaps there were multiple purposes the novel strove to achieve, and as a result, the author was unable to accomplish any of them.
Wrap-up: This book is slated to be released August 7 of this year, but if the world is really going to end in December, I say you probably want to pass on reading it.
|Am I being catty? Why yes.|
Last but not least, here's the Guardian review of this same novel, which is well written and worth looking into if you're unsure, after reading my review, if this book is for you.
*An advanced copy of this book was provided free of charge; this review and all opinions contained therein are my own.