2016 Book Club Read for Sept.
It took me three tries to make it though this book. Three times. This third time, I don't know what it was but after about 50 pages, I just didn't want to put the book down. This is slightly strange because the people are largely unlikable.
The novel has a frame story, and then presents the notebooks of the central character, Anna. The notebooks are a chronicle, perhaps, of her life (both fictional and real) and her mind. They are her attempt to break writer's block or a lack of desire to write. They are the Yellow Wallpaper in many ways.
In some ways, the book is about the modern Yellow Wallpaper because while Anna and her friend Molly are "free women" they aren't really free. Men and society who makes the women think they need men still control their lives in such a way. (For instance, there really isn't much difference between Tommy and his father).
The novel itself seems to be about confronting or coming to terms with fear - be it of madness, life, or the lack of life. Perhaps that is way it is engrossing.
Dani (a GR friend) asked me why I gave this three stars, so instead of pulling out the reading journals I've been keeping since 2000, I reread it. The book is a great homage to the Victorian thriller that Cox had long edited and admired. What I found distracting were the footnotes.
The novel is one of those "true" manuscripts that has become popular in books, and to make it believable there is a bunch of footnotes that tell the reader things. There are too many and they disrupt the follow of the book for me. Other than that, it is a good anti-hero novel and is engrossing. This is why the footnotes are so jarring.