Friday, April 10, 2009

Contrast

I finally made an effort and finished John Cairney's Flashback Forward, which I wrote a little about in an earlier post. Sadly the book doesn't improve. After getting to the point where the big incident happens and the main character is somehow split in two, things ramble on in an interminable fashion for another 200 plus pages (!) Cairney can write well, but he's relied on the big incident at around 100 pages to make his book. It doesn't. There's no plot, no characters that go anywhere or grow in any way. No interaction of people apart from some fairly bland relationships, and even those don't move forward. Very disappointing.
So it's been a relief to get my teeth into (an appropriate phrase to use in the circumstances), Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, which I'd had on reserve at the library for a month or more, and which finally turned up on Friday. It's obviously very popular, and you can see why. Perceptive writing about people who have some reality about them. Clever quiet humour; a neat idea that holds our attention from the beginning (I had some idea of what was coming, but it didn't spoil the reading in any way); and writing that's just as stylish as Cairney's. A lot of American writers are very stylish, but not all of them write well. Meyer certainly does. I'm already 172 pages into the book, and only started it around 1pm. (It's now 4, and I haven't been reading continually through that time.)
It's intriguing to find that this book was Meyer's first; it's accomplished, sure of itself, perhaps a little long (but you don't care), and creates a very real world with characters that come alive quickly. A bunch of high school students could easily get confusing and interchangeable: these ones don't. Furthermore the romantic angle is never slushy or over the top. Bella, the main character, is mostly level-headed and mature (for her years).
I'm looking forward to carrying on reading it before I have to go back to Varsity study and learning lines for the play and so on!
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