These are the reviews that I dread. I try to find something positive about each book I read, but sometimes a book just doesn’t fly for me. Still, my plan is to give a fair description here so you, the reader, can decide. Perhaps you will find a book here that becomes one of your favorites.
Iago has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare characters. Truly. He fascinates me. So I was excited to hear someone had tackled the idea of telling the story of Othello from Iago’s point of view. The strength of this book is Galland’s ability to turn a sentence. Her descriptions are full and deep.
Venice is a place of pomp and circumstances, where every possible opportunity for ceremony is studiously observed and acted on, but there was little fanfare when we graduated from our training. Soaked by sheets of cooling rain, skirting the flooded Piazza of San marco, I returned home, lugging my leather satchel — the weight of which was much less burdensome to me than it had been three months earlier. ~Pg 45.
But while her writing is enjoyable on the small scale, I found it difficult to become invested in the plot. I quickly lost interest in the overall story. It just fell flat for me.
WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK
This novel uses the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho as a backdrop for the intertwining tales of the citizens of Bakersfield, California. A diner waitress, an actress’s cab ride, a truck and a shower become rich settings for disparate characters. The book unfolds as more of a psychological study than a novel. And unfortunately (to me, anyway), it stays that way. Not much ever happens, and no character is fascinating enough to sustain it on interior dialogue alone. If you’re a fan of modern-style novels such as this, perhaps you will enjoy it more than I did.
My thanks to William Morrow and Algonquin Books for the review copies.