So it has come to this. My final review of 2014. I wish I had something more epic for you, but unfortunately it’s just a plain old read-it-if. Let’s get on with it quickly so you can get back to planning what incredible activities you’re going to get up to tonight to ring in the new year. I’ll be in bed by 8, in case you were wondering.
Today’s book is one for the grown-ups – After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
One hot summer’s day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind. He shuts up the bookshop no one ever comes to and drives out of London. When his car breaks down and he becomes lost on an isolated road, he goes looking for help, and stumbles into the grounds of a grand but dilapidated house.
Its residents welcome him with open arms – but there’s more to this strange community than meets the eye. They all know him by name, they’ve prepared a room for him, and claim to have been waiting for him all along. As nights and days pass John finds himself drawn into a baffling menagerie. There is Hester, their matriarchal, controlling host; Alex and Claire, siblings full of child-like wonder and delusions; the mercurial Eve; Elijah – a faithless former preacher haunted by the Bible; and chain-smoking Walker, wreathed in smoke and hostility. Who are these people? And what do they intend for John?
Read it if:
* you like your literary fiction very literary indeed
* you enjoy novels based on characters with mysterious pasts, who are not very forthcoming about their motivations
* you don’t really mind when the blurb doesn’t give an accurate feel for what the story will be about
* you really, really like literary fiction
The keen-eyed observer may well detect a little bit of apathy in my read-it-if dot points today. It must be said, that despite having very high hopes for this book, it just didn’t do it for me in the end. About half way through I started getting the feeling that I had been seriously mislead by the blurb as to the goings-on in the story. To me the blurb hinted at some sinister plot revolving around the main character – in reality, the characters don’t seem to have any particular intentions for John, the main character. Well, apart from that of involving him in long, meandering conversations and cups of tea. I think because I was expecting something very different from what was delivered, I felt much more disappointment with this book than had my expectations been otherwise.
Unfortunately, instead of finding the characters deep, mysterious and fascinating, I found all of them to be reasonably tedious. An exception to this was Elijah, the ex-preacher who has lost his faith – I did eventually tire of him too, but of all of them, he was the one I felt least antagonistic towards, mostly because he seemed to actually have a backstory that had some depth.
If you enjoy books in which characters have (supposedly) deep philosophical conversations and an atmosphere that hints of events being stopped in time, then you may enjoy this book more than I did. For me however, it was all just a bit airy-fairy.
I received a digital copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.
So that’s it for 2014. Thanks for sticking with me this far, those of you who have, and stay tuned for Friday – I’ve got an absolutely ripping little collection of short stories to share with you to kick off 2015.
Until next time,