Comments: 7
This just reinforces my first instinct, which was not to read this one.
Yes, same here -- and, great review!

I've been on the fence about this one, not because it's won awards (which I couldn't care less about), but because people whose judgment I trust have really praised this book. But every time I merely look at how it's being sold there's just something -- and I can't define it, other than it being a profound, instinct-molded-by-experience type of mistrust of anything that's being aggressively marketed -- that says to me "this isn't for you." You're the first person to voice that same sort of feeling in a review ... even though I do like magical realism (at least, of the Isabel Allenede and Gabriel García Márquez brand), so *that* part of the reading experience might be different for me. But oh yes, the aloofness about things that should be deeply disturbing -- that would irk me as well. As would illogical responses, like speaking out on slavery and racism in the company of people not equally opposed to them without instantly engendering some sort of reaction ... especially in Civil War-era American society.
Thank you!

Book instincts are powerful things and often to be trusted. I kind of wonder if some of the acclaim is because it was marketed very well and people who are not familiar with the kind of narrative it offers are experiencing slavery from a slave's point of view for the first time? If you've never read anything that handles this with a bit more emotion or are unfamiliar with the era and its attitudes, it's probably a very genuine eye-opener and powerful because of that.

I'm guessing wildly on that, though.
markk 2 years ago
Do you think the aloofness an effort to convey a sense of the era's callousness, or is it a flaw in Whitehead's writing?
I'm honestly not sure, though I'm inclined to think the latter. Aloofness from the secondary characters makes sense, but I don't quite buy "the era was so different people didn't care about their *own* lives."
Thanks! :)