OT Books query

Ika blake at gaudaprime.co.uk
Mon Oct 11 06:41:12 EDT 2004


Judith and Ros on "The Moth Diary" by Rachel Klein:

>> I was disappointed in this; it's very literary and very "mysterious" but
>> ultimately I found the ending to be unsatisfactory. Others I know who
>> have
>> read it disagree; they were very happy with the way it ends, so it may
>> be
> a
>> strong case of taste! (I don't dislike open-ended books, but this one
>> was
>> too inconclusive in all the possibilities it presents for my taste.)
>>
>>
>> Judith
>
> It sounds as though the blurb gives far too much away, since it poses the
> basic dilemma of the book you're hinting at.

Well, the basic dilemma as blurbed is very strongly set out in the first
couple of pages, which for me is partly what made the open-endedness of
the ending unsatisfactory. (It's like, the book starts out with "Was it
all just a dream?" and ends with "So it was all just a dream... *or was
it*???", which isn't much of a movement for 200 very closely written
pages.)

I got really sucked in while reading it: in fact, I finished it on the
train to Heathrow and then handed it straight to my gf, with the result
that we barely spoke on the journey (the reason we were going to Heathrow,
btw, was to put her on a plane back to Australia after she'd come over for
a six-week visit). I loved the literary mysteriousness Judith mentions, as
well as the nicely emotionally-overwrought girls'-school atmosphere - I
love books about relationships between girls/women, and that was my
favourite dimension of this book, which is why, in the end, it sent me
straight back into the arms of Jaclyn Moriarty, whose girl-friendship
novels are better than this one. I suppose I felt like it fell between two
stools - the supernatural/mysterious elements weren't resolved enough for
it to be *mainly* a Gothic novel, and the girl-friendship theme wasn't
strong enough for it to be *mainly* a school story, so the two bits ended
up undermining each other. So I felt slightly "huh?" at the end, after the
intensity of the reading just sort of... faded out.

(In that regard, actually, it reminds me a bit of Meg Rosoff's "The Way I
Live Now", which is probably the best book I've read this year and one of
the best books I've *ever* read, but has what felt to me like *completely*
the wrong ending. I had to spend quite a long time rewriting the ending in
my head before I could settle down after reading it.)

Love, Ika


-- 
"He had embarked upon a death wish-fulfilment roller coaster"
- Ruth Rendell, Diamond Dagger Award winner
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