Sunday, September 23, 2018

Paris by the Book

Paris By The Book is a literary novel by Liam Callanan. Released 3rd April, 2018 by Penguin Books - Dutton imprint, it's 368 pages and available in ebook, hardback, paperback and audiobook formats.

My first impressions were favorable honestly.  The author has a very lyrical voice.  The book is well crafted and the dialogue is smooth and never clunky.  My problems with this book were that it unsettled me that I never quite figured out what the author's purpose was in presenting it.  There were mystery elements, a few humorous ones, straight literary narrative... but nothing that really allowed me to become comfortable with the plot or understand what was really happening.  For a long while I thought it was going to be an unreliable narrator type thing where she was hallucinating or that Robert had actually died and she was just not coping (that would've been interesting, but possibly more difficult to write).  I didn't understand the motivations of pretty much any of the characters throughout the book.  They felt like marionettes, sort of inserted into the scenery and jerked around by some VERY capricious offstage presence.

The actual story arc was full of unbelievable coincidences which just piled on top of one another from the very beginning.  My suspension of disbelief was completely and irretrievably shattered by about page 12.

At the end of the day, the fact that someone (Robert) who professes to love and cherish their family (Leah + 2 daughters) could absolutely upend their lives with the worst imaginable trauma and keep doing it beyond the first time is unforgivable.  It doesn't matter whether or not they cope or grow or progress or anything, he's a colossal jerk of biblical proportions.

It would be a stretch to say I hated this book.  I certainly didn't enjoy it. 

It -is- well crafted and well written (which added another star to my personal evaluation). In fact, the author is talented enough that I would like to read more of his work. I'm 99% sure there'll be a movie coming out sometime soon.  I think it could work better as a film script, honestly.

Two and a half stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment