Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Don't Waste Your Time
When we were ready to leave for our trip to North Carolina, I picked up South of Broad to take along. Set in the South, I thought it would be just the ticket. People had said good things about it, so I thought Conroy might have his mojo back.
Oy. I can't think when I've read such a dreadful book. The folks who populate the story are all shallow, vapid creatures, who make long, ridiculous speeches to each other as a way of providing history. They're not real; they are caricatures rather than characters. I've never met anyone remotely like any of them.
How's this for an example of dreadful dialogue:
"'I've loved you since the day I first met you, like I told you the other night,' I tell her.
'Why? That's stupid. That's unheard-of. You didn't know me, or one thing about me.'
'I knew your style. The way you carried yourself. Your courtesy and attentiveness to everything going on around you. I loved your defense of Fraser the day I first met you. I knew you were a match for Chad. A match for anyone. I felt your strength. Then there was your beauty, your extraordinary beauty. Does that answer your question, Molly, you pain in the ass? Does that mean you won't punch me again?'"
"Fraser says, 'It was mostly liquor talk. You know the kind: "I love you" slurred in a hundred different ways. "I miss all of you" slurred in a hundered others. Classic Trevor. If he'd been born straight, he'd have married me or Molly. If he'd been born a girl, he'd've married Leo. It was drunk talk sure enough, but pure Trevor. I tried to call him the next day at his flat on Union Street, but his phone was disconnected. I wrote him a letter, but it came back with address unknown. So I figured he'd moved.'"
Good grief. Do you know people who talk like that? I don't. (And I'm glad.)
Sure, Conroy is a master of description. He really has a way with adjectives. But that's about it. The critics raved about this book. I don't get it. It's purely awful. Tripe, as my mother would have said. I'm halfway through -- haven't even reached the hurricane scene -- and don't think I can bear to go any further.
Perhaps I'll hear from the library tomorrow that my next reserve book is in.
Posted by Nancy Stevens on Tuesday, June 29, 2010