Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.

The Dream of a Beast

The Dream of a Beast - Neil Jordan A short novella, told like a story, but its increasing surreality makes it increasingly like a very long dream, which confused me at first as I didn't know it was that sort of book. I expect its fans think it very profound, but it said nothing to me.

It is the sort of pretentious and poorly written thing I might have produced in my late teens, and whilst I might have been proud of it at the time, I would be relieved as an adult if it had never been published.

Even ignoring the absence of speech marks (which I find annoying, but concede is a valid stylistic trait), I still think the writing is bad. There are too many self-conscious mentions of light, railway tracks and mist that are ultimately empty.

It tries too hard to be "poetic", which leads to bizarre metaphors such as, "the almond green of her eyes" (though later he is more conventional and describes his own eyes as almond-shaped) and "the scent, which seemed to hang in the air like figures of eight". After lines like that, I couldn't decide whether "I touched my finger off the sundial" was a typo or deliberate, and if deliberate, what it was meant to mean.

At other times, it could do with a little more variety. He hears the "hissing of sprinklers" twice in the space of only 3 sparsely worded pages. However, as the same word is used for sprinklers on several other occasions, it's obviously deliberate, but it jarred with me.

As for the small amount of sex, it should surely be considered for the annual literary Bad Sex award.

Overall, the only person I would recommend this to would be a budding author wanting a case study of what not to do.

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China MiƩville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake