Reading in 2009, 4 - Engleby not for me
I have a t-shirt that reads “too many books, too little time”.
Every now and then I read a book and think, “with all the books in the world, why did I bother with this one?” Despite the amount of trash I read, this happens relatively rarely, if a book is entertaining, or, interesting, or both, then I’m usually a happy bunny, and I don’t set the bar high.
And so to Sebatian Faulks’ Engleby. Half way through I seriously considered not finishing it. It starts well enough, but it doesn’t take long to suss the plot, and despite the odd passage of quality prose, mostly the mood it builds up is tedium, and a feeling of “when is this thing going to end” instead of the any of the feelings I would rather have had, like “how is this going to end” (frankly I didn’t care) or “give me more” (please no more) … or “how time has flown while I’ve been reading” (nope). So, sadly, this was a “I wish I never started it book”. Having started a book, it has to be really bad for me not to finish it, and this wasn’t really bad …
If you ever make the mistake of reading it (all the way through), you’ll realise that tedium may well have been exactly what Faulks wanted you to feel, but being true to your plot while boring your readers is something you can only get away with when you have a big reputation.
So, I’m sure some folk will like it (a quick look at Amazon seems to imply that lots of people liked it!). But not me. I wish I had spent the time reading something else.
(I hope that when I grow up I’ll learn to not finish books I’m not enjoying!)