Reading But Not Writing

Monday February 25, 2008 in books |

This corner of the blogosphere is becoming increasingly silent. I’m still reading, but there’s never much time for writing at the moment. I finished The Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas, a writer who was annoyingly hovering just outside my radar – for too long for me to continue not reading them. Reading this novel helped me to conclude that I am useless at crime fiction, not giving my full concentration and missing the clues as they are scattered before me. For me, Vargas writes too much like Agatha Christie – I have trouble differentiating between the various characters that just appear too similar. At the end of the book I had just about learnt the names of Vargas’ three evangelists – but I couldn’t tell you any more about them. And I also kept forgetting that Vargas is French, the novel is French-set and a translation. It could have been set in New York, Berlin or Bristol for all the local atmosphere it gave me.

So I’m passing on to Day by A.L.Kennedy, a novel that might just be more my cup of tea…

Vargas is an acquired taste, I’d say. She is so whimsical and unreastic, one either goes along with it or doesn’t like her, I suspect — readers’ reactions to her are polarized accordingly.
I would not say she’s typical of crime fiction. I’d recommend some of the Scandinavian authors, for example Asa Larsson’s Snow Storm (The Savage Altar in the UK) is excellent.
“Crime” fiction is as varied as any other kind of fiction, so one can read almost any type of book and almost any level of writing (from potboiler to literary) under the header. So please don’t write it off on the basis of one book!

Maxine    Monday February 25, 2008   

Ugh. One of the most important things for me is good characterization. I don’t think I’d like that book very much!

heather (errantdreams)    Thursday February 28, 2008   

Sorry I didn’t mean to condemn crime fiction as a whole, rather this writer in particular. I’d heard great things about her, I’d read a recent interesting interview in the Guardian and my local Waterstones were bullying me into buying her entire stock.
But I only bought one title and have to say it was hugely disappointing.

The Book Tower    Thursday February 28, 2008   

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