Recently read (or not)

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull – I’ve read so many recommendations of this book as a seminal urban fantasy novel.  And I can see that it is.  It’s beautifully crafted and has a very specific sense of time and place.  As a reader, I can appreciate the book’s construction and prose, and the protagonist is a heroine to admire.  And yet I did not love the book.  I cannot point to a specific reason why — I enjoyed it as I read — but I’m not likely to feel the urge to ever re-read the book.  Maybe it’s the very distinct setting — late 80s Twin Cities — and the repeated mention of Prince as an admired musician which I can’t really connect with?  (I wonder if the book had been written 5-10 years later, and been set in Seattle’s grunge scene with mentions of Eddie Vedder or Kurt Cobain, would my perspective change?)

Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand — I think I picked up a used copy of this book because the protagonist was a photographer of New York’s nascent punk scene.  But I found the narrator and her self-destructive behavior as described in the early part of the book to be difficult to relate to or sympathize with.  I want to know that the POV character(s) I’m following into a mystery, if they are damaged or screwed up, are capable of change or growth but this line, about the narrator’s professional and personal failures and drug addiction, killed my interest:  “This is what you have to understand about me:  I could have changed.  I didn’t want to.”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Recently read (or not)

  1. I love War for the Oaks, but – I live in the neighborhood where it was set. And although I’m not a fan of Prince, he was kind of a big deal in MN in the 80s, so I can deal. 🙂

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