Postcard Seven - Bournemouth
Although I've been more than a little sidetracked recently and the book I had intended to write alongside these walks and blog posts, has been put on the back burner for now, as two other books were demanding to be written and they were in much better shape to begin, I am still walking! At times last week it was quite surreal walking through one county, whilst physically walking miles through one I had technically already walked through!
However. I did finish listening to my Dorset book - The French Lieutenant's Woman - and it was an unusual one. I had a vague idea what it was about before I started listening to it, but it turned out to be something of a surprise even so. The book is metafictional, a genre I've only recently come across, but such is the elegance of the writing and so well is the period of the book's action captured, that when the first indication that it was a modern novel came (courtesy of a reference to Hitler, if memory serves), it was something of a shock. It jolted me out of the narrative and reminded me that this was not in fact a 19th century book.
At various points in the story, the narrator steps in to add some commentary of his own to events and by and large this was entertaining and in places, even witty. However, the point at which I began to move from thoroughly enjoying the book to not being sure about it, was at the end.
Three alternative endings are given, none of which are entirely satisfactory. At times, they contradicted what I believed the characters would do in the circumstances and turned one character whom I had grown rather fond of, into something approaching a villain. There was also a hint of one of my pet hates in literature - a cliché that had no real purpose.
I'm glad I read it, but I don't think it's one I would go back to. It's worth a read and I'd definitely watch the film based on it, but it left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied, which at the end of a book that has had several hours invested in it, is never a good thing.
Next up is Wiltshire and Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain by Barney Norris, while the next few days will be spent editing.