Archive for the ‘As cold as the grave’ Category
I’m a bit concerned that, because I give so many 5-star reviews, people might think I am indiscriminate.
On the other hand, my reading time is so precious that I don’t like to squander it reading a book I’m not enjoying. There are so many thrilling ones.
So I’ll compromise.
I’ll review this book without reading it.
To be fair, I tried to read it. There are six stories in this collection and I gave each of them a go. I read the first one for over twenty minutes but I couldn’t find a single thing to like.
The others I devoted much less time to. I found the accumulation of mundane sentences and banal dialogue overwhelmingly tedious. I think my flatmate’s incoherent ramblings are more literary than this.
I read (or, strictly speaking, didn’t read) these stories in English but it’s not the translator’s fault. She has also translated “Lust, Caution” by Eileen Chang, which is absolutely brilliant whether you read it in English or Chinese.
So, sorry, this gets a thumbs down from me.
No, no, no. No, no, no. This is not how to write erotica. This is not how to write romance.
I was lured by the prospect of sin, tricked by the allusions to Lou Reed and Edgar Allan Poe. This was supposed to be Gothic, dark and dangerous.
Instead it was insipid and stale.
There is no passion in any of these sentences. The characters are so under-developed they are hardly there at all. The sex is as tame as a glass of tepid milk.
No. Let’s try another one, quick.
My flatmate was just telling me about a bad experience with anal sex in Malaysia (where she couldn’t go to the doctor afterwards) and for some reason I thought of this book. It wasn’t pleasant but I forced myself to go through with it. Why, God only knows.
I was surprised to find this in a bookshop and bought it out of curiosity. I thought, since it had made it onto the shelves of a mainstream bookshop, it must have some merit. I am also interested in exploring the extremes of sexual experiences. I want to read about what people think of as edgy, dangerous and cool. I want to encounter people with imagination who can go beyond convention and routine.
My expectations of this book were not high but it was still a huge disappointment. It was a struggle to find a single story in here that held my interest let alone one that I could recommend. Some are better than others. Some should never, ever have been published.
This is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.
I believe there is nowhere to hide when you are a writer. Try as you may, your personality will shine through. Sooner or later. This is not a James Bond novel. This is a Jeffery Deaver novel.
I can say this with certainty even though I have never read a Jeffery Deaver novel. Not all the way through. I have read bits.
Jeffrey Deaver likes bits.
I prefer people whole.
That’s why I didn’t finish this book.
I wouldn’t date this guy. I would have dated Ian Fleming for sure. He would have been fun. But Jeffery Deaver? No, sorry.
I am very interested in the life of the woman who wrote these stories. There is no doubt that they are a first rate contribution to world literature. They are serious, controlled, thoughtful and deeply felt. But I hate reading them. They are like a bitter pill to me and I don’t want to take it. There is a China that is not shown here. You might think that this other China doesn’t exist, could never exist. Yiyun Li doesn’t want these stories to be published in China. Perhaps it’s because the China she writes of isn’t there anymore. I haven’t read her other collection of stories or her novel but I think they are still trying to purge her past. Let’s move on.