Friday, 15 November 2013

MOON TIGER by Penelope Lively

Well, here's an eminently forgettable book. It's a Booker winner, and it's entirely in the mould of many Booker winners, ie: it's 'inventive'. It's essentially a straightforward story of one woman's life, but, life not being interesting enough for this kind of literature, the chronology is all mixed up, and a general air of 'poetry' hangs over the proceedings.

The central character has a strong (and for a few months apparently incestuous) relationship with her brother, and upon growing up becomes a journalist. She has a profound love affair with a man who dies in World War II in Egypt, and then goes on to get pregnant by a man she cares less for, but who becomes her long term partner and nemesis.

I'm sort of surprised by the vitriol of the above two paragraphs, as I don't remember hating it so bad when I read it. Some books, such as DEATH OF AN ADVERSARY, I like more in retrospect, than at the time; this book apparently is the reverse. It was not all bad, presenting a kind of interesting picture of a life across decades, and the last paragraph was sort of lovely. Speaking of her hospital room, at the end: "It has the stillness of a place in which there are only inanimate objects: metal, wood, glass, plastic. No life. Something creaks: the involuntary sound of expansion and contraction. Beyond the window a car starts up, an aeroplane passes overhead. The world moves on. And beside the bed the radio gives the time signal and a voice starts to read the six o'clock news."

But overall, I've practically already forgotten I ever read it.

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