Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Thief of Time, Steinunn Sigurdardottir

In Paris I'm just another person on the street, standing out in the crowd just enough to be able to blend with it completely; I'm every bit as chic as the French women, whom I also resemble in wearing a lot of make-up and in being a little drunk.

I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't. I wasn't so fond of the random capitalization (okay, I know, it's a ridiculous pet peeve, but there you are) and I didn't love the poetry (some of which I blame on the fact that it's a translated novel - word choice is so important in poetry), nor the way the character kept referring to herself in the third person and then back to the first. The style was a bit distracting.

The main character was incredibly annoying - sure we've all perhaps behaved like this after a break up, or at least had a friend who did. And yet, an entire novel of a woman whining about how she was so perfect and he obviously loved her, but maybe he wasn't worth it, except that he was - it was, well, long. I liked the main point, which I assume is that we shouldn't waste our lives on ended love affairs.

I assume I missed some of the implications on class, not really being familiar with Icelandic history and culture - perhaps I might not have found Alda so annoying had I understood better what she represented.

However, if a point of literature is to invoke a strong emotional reaction and cause you to analyze your own behaviour as it pertains to the theme, and I do think you can argue that it is at least a significant driving force behind the writing of novels, then it certainly worked. I haven't been this irritated and thoughtful about a book in some time.

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