Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Saving Your Life

Finished another book the other day, while tenting around the UK.

It’s This Book Will Save Your Life, by A M Homes. An odd book, there’s no doubt, and the saving side of it relates to a man called Richard finding his way from a life which is nothing to a life that’s worth something. The book is full of quirky characters, and even more quirky behaviour. This may be in part because it’s set in California, but not entirely. Homes has a way of making even fairly ordinary people seem extraordinary.

I’m not sure that I entirely enjoyed the book, and I found the ending came suddenly out of nowhere. (I was expecting several more pages, and then discovered they were filled with advertising for Homes’ other books.) The book doesn’t seem to move forward very fast, and there’s certainly nothing that could be called a plot. Some characters that are shown as difficult and unpleasant turn out to have a soft side, a side that’s almost unreal, and other characters are too unreal altogether.

And the book is full of loose ends – at least in my reading of it. I’d like to know a bit more about how some things turned out, but Homes leaves a lot of stuff unfinished as far as the reader is concerned. You could say that they’re ‘finished’ in literary terms, but this isn’t entirely satisfactory.

Anyway, it was worth reading generally speaking, and certainly I wanted to finish it. That’s a plus!

And there's a very good and sensible review of it by Frank Cottrell Boyce on the Guardian Unlimited site.

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