19 July 2014

Tempted by Literature

Every once in awhile I get tempted to read something that's not a mystery. Non-fiction often works for me. Romance never has. Comedy is good. And there are times when I am tempted to read Literature. I guess I think I should read Literature once in awhile. After all, I'm an Educated person. On rare occasions, I am rewarded. More often I'm befuddled, disappointed, and/or bewildered.

Malie Meloy reviewed Evie Wyld's second novel, All the Birds, Singing in The New York Times. Somethings she wrote there tempted me to read Wyld's book. The review was better than the book.

It was sort of like a recipe that sounded good on paper, but in reality was a great disappointment.

I thought, based on the review, that the book was set on a small island off the coast of England. Turns out that much of the book is set in Australia. And I often couldn't tell where a particular scene was set. I thought the book was a biography of the main character, an independent woman who survived a particularly awful life. Well, it sort of was, but parts of the story were told in reverse chronological order. (There was one point at which three consecutive chapters were set in times earlier than their predecessors.) For someone like me who appreciates story telling, this was a disaster.

Somewhere in the confusing story, the main character did move from shearing sheep in Australia to raising sheep on a British isle. I have no clue about where in the story this happened. Wyld made a big deal out of the mysterious and deadly attacks on sheep by something. Was it brutal nature, delinquent teenagers, delusions, or something evil and ethereal? I never found out. The main character has horrific scars on her back, which she refers to several times. I have no clue about what happened to create them or what they meant to the main character.

Evie Wyld
I went back and read Meloy's review. She described things from the book that I can't remember. I guess I was just too befuddled, disappointed, and/or bewildered to catch on to the Literary illusions in Wyld's Literature. I did like the review better than the book, but it's only a little essay. I do like to read whole books. I do like to read books that effectively tell stories. I do like to read books where characters are introduced or who introduce themselves in whatever ways they are able to understand themselves. That didn't happen for me here. Maybe I was lured in by the photograph of the read-headed author.

Nothing explains to me why the reviews are all positive and why Wyld has won awards for her writing.

Have you read All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld? What did you think of it or what did you understand? Write. Tell this little bit of the world what you thought.

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