Monday, January 19, 2009
I was able to get through The Story of Edgar Sawtelle over the weekend. I made no secret that I was not enjoying this book at the half-way point. I'm sorry to say things did not improve. Nevertheless, people who write literary critisism for a living seem to universally love it, even likening it to - it's hard for me to say this without gulping very hard - Hamlet. Janet Maslin, writing for the New York Times, gushed, "One of the great pleasures of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is its free-roaming, unhurried progress, enlivened by the author's inability to write anything but guilelessly captivating prose..." which accomplishes to "exert a strong, seemingly effortless gravitational pull." I didn't feel anything remotely similar to a gravitational pull; but, I will agree with her that it was "unhurried." (I might use a different descriptive word, but "unhurried" will do.) Notwithstanding my lack of enthusiasm for this book, I would never suggest that it should not be read. Quite the contrary: I do encourage everyone to read it. This novel is heralded as a very important first work for Wrobewski; we can expect that it will be discussed and its merits debated for many years. Now that I have read it, and formed my own opinion, I will be able to participate in those discussions and articulate the reasons why I was not enamoured by it. In that respect, at the very least it certainly was not a waste of time; at best, you may love it.