Books, Bikes, and Food

Reviews, Recipes, Rides… and some other things, too.

A.L. Kennedy: The Blue Book (2011)

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blue_book_smallElizabeth and her boyfriend Derek are on a cruise. They might be getting married soon, although Elizabeth doesn’t seem to be especially excited about the idea. While boarding the cruise ship, they meet a man, seemingly a stranger at first, with whom Elizabeth turns out to have a past. She’s actually on board because of him, and through a series of mishaps, Derek has ended up there, too.

Interwoven with this backstory there are other narrative strands, one of a couple of psychics who “bring back the dead” for their desperate clients, that of a boy who spends time on an island with his mother, and then there’s also lots of sex, and a strange passage about Rwanda.

All the while, the reader is addressed as “you”, or is it the characters that are being addressed, who knows?

That’s pretty much all I can tell you about The Blue Book, because I didn’t finish it. It seemed to me that Kennedy got carried away by her own infatuation with experimental narration and overdid it not just a bit. The whole narrative set-up was too much and prevented me from getting engaged with the characters. Rather than deeply identifying with Elizabeth, I became really annoyed with her and just couldn’t bring myself to care, so I gave up about halfway through.

The press largely raved about this novel though, it’s supposed to be rather brilliant. I just didn’t quite see it.

German title: Das blaue Buch
Spanish title: No translation found

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Author: bettinathenomad

Nomadic fan of books, food, the outdoors, and water. International Relations geek. Chlorine is my perfume.

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