Saturday, January 22, 2005

Dem bones, dem bones, dem lovely bones

What did I learn from this book? Mainly, don't finish books in a rush if you want to get the most out of them! But I knew we were going to discuss it the next day at the "Honestly, it's not a Book Club" book club, so I wanted to finish it...

I wasn't sure what to make of it, though. The narrative was a little disconnected in places, perhaps a victim of the wider perspective of time from "the afterlife", perhaps due to my lack of sleep. Some of the ideas were fascinating - some less so. Susie's ability to touch people after her death was taken in unexpected directions, and her personal (if surprisingly impersonal) heaven was an interesting way of allowing her to explore her "aftermath".

The writing was pretty good in places (though a one-session, un-put-downable book it was not). Some of the characters were extremely convincing, well drawn, with a breath of reality, and some were interestingly offbeat. The grandmother was a wonderful counterpoint to some of the gloominess, but the mother was just strange and inexplicable - not so much enigmatic, with distant ocean eyes, as random. I found her goings and comings again pretty inexplicable. Maybe it's my complete, though understandable, lack of feminine intuition. Maybe it's because I expect there to be reasons for things. Maybe there are clues in the more autobiographical "Lucky". Maybe I was too tired that late at night.

Still, for a book which begins brutally, with Susie's rape and murder, it was a surprisingly cheerful and positive account of how the broken bones of a family are able to knit together, over time, and how those left behind, as well as Susie herself, were able to let go and move on.

And the icicles and the "perfect murder" idea were a nice touch!

"You'll like it if you like that sort of thing"

Next time, we'll watch a film though! Honestly, we're not a "Book club!"


christine said...

i read it, too. here's my in depth analysis:

i agree with most of what you say.

outside of that, i think i'll read 'Lucky' --- thanks

Paul said...

Thanks. It's always nice when people agree with me (especially if they disagree a bit too)!