The Red House by Mark Haddon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I admire Mark Haddon.
You have to admire someone who wrote a fantastic book, then a film for TV, then a book of poetry, then a novel. He hasn't followed a straight line, it seems like he has continually challenged himself and his art. With this new book he attempts to blur the line between poetry and novel.
While I do admire his attempts, I would also question the wisdom of never sticking to one thing long enough to perfect your work. Many writers' first book is not their best, and I would think by sticking to one genre you could learn things and develop.
This book is a disaster. I have read every book Haddon has written until now but unfortuantely I will be cautious before ever reading another word.
Told in eight alternating viewpoints, each character of the book sometimes has as little as one paragraph before we jump to the next character's paragraph, or we jump into a book someone is reading, or we jump into a poem someone read in 1958 or a TV show someone saw once, again only for a paragraph. I finished 25% of this book and I had no idea who anyone was. I doubt there is a writer alive that can balance eight destinct voices and random thoughts along the way and have the audience be able to continue to tell who the heck is talking.
The more important question is I think why. Why would you want to break up your story that much?
With the narrative flow gone and the reader's time spent guessing who's talking and who is who in relation to each other, or even if the person talking is a person, you really have no vested interest.
I got to 27% and I'm done.
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