OT Books query

Abe Gross argross at bigpond.net.au
Tue Oct 19 08:36:06 EDT 2004

> Judith and Ros on "The Moth Diary" by Rachel Klein:
> >> I was disappointed in this; it's very literary and very "mysterious"
> >> 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
> > 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.)

I know that unnerving feeling of having read a wonderful book and have it
end in a way that feels wrong!

I feel I will *have* to read "The Moth Diary" now! I want to see how I feel
about the ending, after what you've  said. I might borrow it from the
library, if I can, rather than buy it, though. Thanks for your thoughts on
the book.


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