It’s time for another edition of books I simply could not finish! And I’m quite sad about both of them, to be honest. Not sad enough to actually force my little eyes to focus on the paragraphs swimming in long, dull paragraphs before me, but . . . sad enough to feel bad about posting this.
Solar by Ian McEwan
For a solid week I tried to connect with Michael Beard, the storyline, the location — anything. And I failed. Quite miserably. From the get-go, there was a complete disconnect between what was happening with the plot and what was running through my mind as a reader. And if there was humor here, as many reviews have noted? I just totally missed it. No character gained my sympathy, and no part of the plot engaged me. Everyone seemed miserable, bitter and alone.
After not picking up the novel for several days and finding any possible reason to avoid Solar, I’m throwing in the towel after just 50 pages. Better luck next time with Ian McEwan, whose novel On Chesil Beach I adored! Still, I don’t think this literary talent needs any bolstering from yours truly. Solar has been everywhere I’ve looked lately.
Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael
As much as I wanted to become engrossed in the world of the Brontë sisters — all authors I’ve read and enjoyed in my literary lifetime — the novel failed to hold my interest. And I’m not quite sure why.
It’s not for lack of talent. Gael’s prose, though sometimes dense, was interesting — and I found the sisters’ stories compelling. For the most part. Maybe it was just that the book felt like a dip in a vast, thick and murky pool and, when hunkered down with it, it was all so depressing. The seclusion. The isolation. The moodiness. The overall tone of the book was glum, honestly, and I wasn’t in the mood to be distraught.
I never made it a point of passions awakened or love ignited, and maybe that’s part of my problem with Romancing Miss Brontë. I wanted Charlotte to feel some happiness, but I didn’t feel like I would live long enough to see it (the book — it’s long). And trying to plod along, waiting for something good to happen, was painful. Even the authors’ success — definitely something to be celebrated — had to be kept hush-hush.
After struggling to read a few pages here and there for almost a month — a new record for me — I had to call it quits. Based on other reviews, I’m in the minority; fans of historical fiction, and those intrigued by the Brontës, might enjoy this one more than I did. As it stood? Just too sad for me.