En route book review #1

My baggage allowance was several kg over the (supposed) limit, and I’m blaming that on books. I’ve brought a, um, number of them with me because I can’t think of anything worse than running out. But, to slowly lighten this damn case, I’ve brought books that I won’t mind abandoning as I go: so that means second hand copies of books I really want to read, freebies, books I suspect I’ll never get round to reading unless they’re all I have, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

First up is a freebie from the Bookswap: The Chapel at the Edge of the World by Kirsten McKenzie. This is nigh-on 400 pages of the Italian experience in WW2, from the point of view of a POW in Orkney and his fiancee back in Lake Como. It’s easily readable if not exactly gripping; but my main impression is of an awful lot of similes. Everything is like something else, or as if it were something else (from a page chosen at random: “As if something had him on a rope, was pulling at him” “the writing was sharp and jagged”) which is fine for a while but I tend to find myself screaming ‘leave it! Sometimes things are just what they are’. The only time she deviates from this policy is, disappointingly, the sex scene. I knew it was coming (pardon the pun) and was really looking forward to some fantastically florid prose, but it’s over and done with in half a page. As it were.

Yeah, it’s alright but I’m glad it was free and I know I won’t miss it.

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