Okay, so remember back a few weeks ago when I posted my summer reading list? I’ve been trying to get through Elizabeth Bowen’s The House in Paris because one of my online book groups is reading it this month, but I am not digging it. At all.
I’m not sure who nominated this selection, or why, but the book reminds me of something I’d have to read for an 18th century novel course at university. Given that it was published in 1935, I think there’s something amiss there. These characters are straight-up period drama types, with their emotional outbursts tempered by characteristic English politeness. In a word: UGH. I hate this type of writing, and I hate period dramas, and I hate people who think that breaking a novel into “present, past, present” is somehow “experimental.” Yeah, maybe for 1935, but not for 2012. Get over it. Most of us have seen a Quentin Tarantino movie that screws with time; this is not challenging or unique.
And yes, I just compared this author to Quentin Tarantino, where QT came out on top. Are you feeling the love?
I wanted to dig this book, because Paris holds a very romantic, beautiful little place in my mind, and I thought this book would conjure up something along those lines. But instead, it is just making me hate the type of English assholes who can fritter their summers away in Paris and then head back to merry olde when they have to put their noses back to the grindstone come September. Screw you wankers; *I* want to be frittering my time away in France and then sighing with melancholy about returning to the “real” world just across the pond, okay?!
Seriously, Europeans just do not know how good they’ve got it with all those cultures just a train ride away. Can I trade my American passport for an Italian one? Belgian? Swiss? Anything? Bueller??
Anyway, I think I am going to have to drop this book from my list, since it is really not doing anything for me, and I can’t see slogging through the rest of it. I’m only on page 72, and all of these characters are getting on my nerves. Why torture myself where there are plenty of good books to be read instead?
I’m dropping this and replacing it with Elissa Schappell’s Blueprints for Building Better Girls unless someone can make a truly compelling argument in favor of Elizabeth Bowen’s brilliance. Ready? Go!
P.S. This blog post on a blog called Outmoded Authors is kind enough to give an overview of the action, but I am mainly linking to it because OUTMODED is the key word. Blech.