This plotless debut quasi-novel received favorable notice from critics. The testimonials of Colum McCann, Molly Antopol and others on the jacket drew me to this book. Many readers also have liked it. I got a quarter of the way through the book and could not go further.
I don’t mind the absence of plot. The fact that a young woman drawn to the remote Irish coast observes minute aspects of daily living I could also live with if she had something to say. There is nothing exquisite about the prose in my view. I find writing such as the following (which also appears on the front inside jacket) to be pretentious.
“I haven’t yet discovered what my first language is so for the time being I use English words to say things. I expect I will have to do it that way; regrettably I don’t think my first language can be written down at all. I’m not sure it can be made external you see. I think it has to stay where it is; simmering in the elastic gloom betwixt my flickering organs.”
In an homage to Lydia Davis there are chapters such as “Stir-fry”.
“I just threw my dinner in the bin. I knew as I was making it I was going to do that,
so I put in all the things I never want to see again.”
I could not help thinking of the parody of Beats at a 1950s poetry reading, snapping their fingers and saying Daddy-O.
Sorry- it might have gotten better (doubt it). You might like it.
Absolutely, God awful.