Showing posts from May, 2015

A place in which I don't belong...

'In the Kingdom of Men' by Kim Barnes.

The further I get into this arbitrary reading challenge (and I am still only on Ba-), the more I think libraries are built for women.  Most of my books have been by women and seemingly for women, at least for a pretty conventional idea of what a woman is.  This doesn't bother me – normal women are a ludicrously big part of the market – but I can't help but feel like I'm not being entirely catered for.  

Take this book by Kim Barnes.  It has a very feminine cover and, based on the blurb, a conventional American female protagonist who happens to end up in Saudi Arabia because of her successful businessman husband.  The story seems to be based around the discovery of a woman's body on the beach, with suspicions falling on our protagonist's better (richer?) half.  Obviously, she is going to clash with the traditional values of Saudi life, a headstrong woman in a potentially oppressive environment.  How will she cope in such …

A very arbitrary read...

Sometimes it can be difficult to explain your feelings about a book.  Sometimes it is just so good that you can't pin down exactly what you love about it; other times, the book is so nondescript that it hardly seems worth putting the effort in to describing it.  In the case of 'In the Approaches', finding words is tricky because it is so...inconsistent.

How to explain... Ok, if you play your iPod or whatever on shuffle, you can go from 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' to Killswitch Engage to Corinne Bailey Rae (at least, you can with my iPod). Now all of these are great but they make for a really disjointed listen.  The same is true of this book.  Some chapters are quite funny; there is a domestic drama playing out in others; the ending is almost like the wrapping-up of a mystery novel.  The different elements are all pretty good but it just doesn't make for a consistent read.

I admire the ambition of the novel.  The various styles are all executed well and I was cer…

How meta is too meta?

I'm about 350 pages through 'In the Approaches' now, and for every element of the book that I like there are a couple of things that I'm struggling with.