Saturday, February 05, 2011

Review -- Stone's Fall (Partial)


I hate criticizing books.  Books seem so important.  Someone believed in the work enough to print it.  Many times.  And sell it.  Someone figured out a story enough to put all the pieces together in a way that convinced someone else that it was a sellable product.  And there's a high rate of books that never get published.  I've never had anything longer than a letter to the editor printed in a real newspaper.  (Sure, I got real articles printed in the high school and college papers, but still, just reporting.)

So, yeah, I hate to say I didn't like something.  Or worse yet, didn't even finish something.  But I guess not everything I read I'm going to like.  However, I will often see it through to the end in some sort of stubborn doggedness or at least mild curiousity.  I guess the 76% rating on Visual Bookshelf on Facebook should have been a bit of a warning, I usually treat anything less than an 80% as highly suspect and often a reason to drop it from my reading list.

I was looking at the book last night -- a massive brick of a thing -- and wondering, if I was on page 137 and it appeared to be such a small sliver of the overall tome, just how big was this thing?  By the time I woke up this morning, I realized I didn't care to keep reading.  It would take me forever, and in the meantime, there were lots of other, shorter books that I could read and I really wasn't that engaged with the story.   So I looked: 594.

Next, I tried reading the last page, but it didn't offer any clues.  So I skimmed a few previous pages, still no luck.  I began working backwards (ironic) to no luck, encountering new characters.

I'm glad I stopped.  While I haven't found any spoilers online, I don't think I would have liked the book if I had kept reading.  The book starts at the death of a character and then quickly jumps back in time to when a reporter first meets that character, shortly after her husband's death and the revelation -- via the will -- that he had a child unbeknownst to his wife.

Reading the reviews online, the book would later move backwards in time, forgetting about the reporter, but continuing to follow the woman as well as man who's only been mentioned a few times by name so far.  And then there's one more jump backwards and the man who's just recently died (fell out of a window) becomes a central character and it looks at the time when he and his wife first met.

Since so far I had related to the young, broke reporter, I think I would have been annoyed when he was no longer central to the story.  Now, he was starting to act stupid with his infatuation of this woman 20 years older than him and she was seemingly insane (I don't think badly written, just off-kilter as a character).   So I would have been annoyed if he'd been dropped and I realized that it was just more of this woman I don't like.

So I'm glad I dropped this.  And as much as I hate to say it, I can't finish "Stone's Fall" by Iain Pears and I can't recommend it.
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