Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Introducing Myself

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 04 Jul 2007

--- Stewart Wilson <> wrote:

> I read DIE A LITTLE after THE SONG IS YOU and
> QUEENPIN. It's true that the
> lyricism you describe was present in DIE, but I was
> very disappointed by the
> book as a whole. Perhaps if I had read it first I
> would have liked it more
> and SONG less. I found that many of the passages in
> the book, particularly
> descriptions of period items and decor read like the
> narrator was in the
> 21st century presenting to a 21st century reader,
> but that shouldn't have
> been the case. Also I don't think the narrator
> could have presented all of
> the goings on she did without knowing what was
> happening sooner. She (the
> narrator) came off as dumb, and uninteresting. By
> contrast, in THE SONG IS
> YOU and QUEENPIN none of those problems were
> present. Alan Guthrie said
> that Abbott has been improving between books. I
> would say that she improved
> massively between the first two. QUEENPIN is told
> in a very different style
> from SONG, I don't know if it was an improvement.
> SONG is my favourite book
> so far this year. QUEENPIN is excellent too.
Cool. I totally disagree. Die A Little had some first novel problems. What I really liked about it is that in terms of the narrator's sister-in-law (trying not to spoil things here) it ends where most writers would have begun it. So the story is told from the point of a witness rather than the nosy and tired sleuth model.

But in The Song Is You, that device really doesn't work. I didn't believe for one second that the protagonist would even care about something where his involvement was so tenuous. And the resolution -- again, I'm trying not to spoil anything here -- was so trite and easy as to be silly. I was severely disappointed by Song.

But that's what makes horseracing . . .


Essays and Ramblings

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