book number two of 2016 + booker winner 1988: oscar & lucinda [peter carey].

warning: there are a few spoilers ahead. just an fyi.

i have a better name for peter carey’s oscar and lucinda, the 1988 winner of the booker prize: the book that went on forever.

oscar and lucinda was another of those booker reads that i just didn’t get. the second main character does not appear until page 70. the two don’t meet until into the 200s. they barely interact until close to 300. if i hadn’t set myself a goal of 40 pages per day and forced myself to stick to it, i don’t know that i would have gotten through it.

it’s not that the story wasn’t interesting. it’s just that it would have been much more interesting if it were 200 pages shorter. carey didn’t need to take eight pages to explain something he could have said in two. and then there were random chapters with random periphery characters who were never seen or heard from again. what exactly was the point of that?

the short of it is this: oscar and lucinda just wasn’t for me. i found the story slow and a little bit boring. i found the characters a little annoying. and i simply thought it was too long. i am clearly in the minority, however, because it’s a popular novel and continues to rank well on both goodreads and amazon.

it did provide a lot of entertainment, though. i would recreate some of the scenes for my roommate, which kept me going. and the book did have some nice passages, as evidenced below. they were just too few and far between for my liking.

lucinda had no idea that she had witnesed a guilty defence. she thought all sorts of things, but not this. she thought what a rare and wonderful man he was. she thought she should not be alone with him in her cabin. she thought they might play cards. she thought: i could marry, not him, of course not him, but i could marry someone like him. there was a great lightness in her soul.

my goodreads rating: 2 out of 5 // average rating is 3.72

currently reading: finishing up malcolm gladwell’s the tipping point this week; getting started on christopher mcdougall’s born to run; and re-reading nora roberts’ river’s end and jk rowling’s harry potter and the chamber of secrets. my next booker winner will be kazuo ishigiri’s the remains of the day, for which i have much higher hopes.

have you ever read a popular book that just didn’t resonate with you? it happened to me with the alchemist as well — i just couldn’t see what all the hype was about.


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