July 5, 2016

Of Things Gone Astray, by Janina Matthewson

Of Things Gone Astray, by Janina Matthewson

1 star: I finished it, but I was highly irritated by the end.

Can I just rant for a minute? This book.

I generally enjoy magical realism. The addition of just a little something unexpected into an otherwise ordinary plot; the little something that changes everything.

Then you get magical realism books like this one that are just frustrating!

[Suzanne--stay far, far away! You will never come back to the genre...]

Okay. So one morning, several different people in London wake up to discover something very important is missing: their piano keys, the front of their house, their workplace, their sense of direction, and so on. This being magical realism, they attempt to carry on with their lives, even though everyone else thinks they may be going crazy. However, they are not delusional--the fact that these things are missing is corroborated by others. They are just things that will have to be done without, or worked around.

Then there's a girl who is becoming a tree at the airport. (WHY??) There's also a young boy who collects the missing items of others. He maps them all out, labels them, and finds comfort in them, somehow. He and his father are not connecting and what neither of them realize is that soon they may become invisible to each other. Literally. [Of course.]

The plot--such as it is--toggles back and forth between the plight of the various characters.

* * * * *

So, one thing I like about magical realism is that it introduces questions, then gives different answers than I was expecting. I like trying to figure out what is really true, in such novels, and what is imagined, or perhaps true, but also imagined.

This book, on the other hand, just threw out a whole bunch of questions with NO answers. At all. It drove me crazy! Every character wandered around in a sort of fog the entire book! Actually, that describes my whole reading experience with this book: I wandered in a fog with no rays of light to be found.

The various characters connect tangentially once in awhile--okay, the one gal starts dating the father of the "finder" boy. I kept expecting there to be deeper connections, or alternate explanations, or something. Nope. The finder boy--oh that's it! Maybe he somehow finds the things that all these people have lost and everything eventually comes back to its rightful owner. Uh...nope again. All the things just pile up in his room, with no real connection to anyone or anything else. There never is any explanation for why the things happen. Some of the circumstances get fixed and some don't. Again, with no reason why or why not.

Anyway. Blah! I wanted to like it; I went into it expecting to find it delightful and quirky. Instead it was just annoying.

(Finished reading June 13.)

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha, yep. I will definitely NOT be picking this one up. :)