Where or When

by Anita Shreve

Friday, June 20, 2008

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A right load of tosh.

Perhaps I’m being a bit mean. I generally like Anita Shreve, both the writing and the stories. Here the writing seemed to verge on the pretentious and the story was like a car crash in slow motion.

Charles gets back in touch with Siân who he knew briefly at the age of fourteen in 1960. It’s now 1991 and they are both married with children. Will they still like each other? Will they wreck their lives for each other?

The dates are important as the plot details are mostly tied up with music of 1960 and the recession of the early 1990s. There’s nothing wrong with this plot of course, it could produce a good book. And there’s nothing wrong with having a couple of central characters that it’s difficult to sympathise with. But taken altogether it was just too much to enjoy.

About the only thing going for this book is that it’s short; had it been long I don’t know if I would have finished it, but alternately, if it had been longer the peripheral characters might have had more page time which would have made for a better read. I appreciate that the close focus on Charles and Siân was supposed to mirror the intensity of the relationship between them but it just wasn’t interesting enough for me.

Funny how sometimes it’s easier to say what you dislike than what you like.