Thursday, November 30, 2006

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

Well, I won't often post about a book that I didn't finish. But I just couldn't finish this book. It was good and I know that others have really liked it. I just couldn't get past something that kept niggling at me. I thought at first it was that there is a big law court case in the middle and I don't like to read them. They are to stressful and there is always people lying and back stabbing and the person is usually innocent, so you are all stressed out because things go against them. Even if it straightens itself out later, I just can't deal with the stress.

But as I thumbed through to see what else might happen in the book, I realized what was bothering me. All the women were wimps. Arthur's wife is sick, but never complained so she her illness progresses to where she is more or less an invalid. George's mother is complacent to his fathers wishes and the his sisters is an invalid. I'm not saying that women were a bit like that back then, but every woman? Even Arthur's mistress is excepting of everything that happens to her. They are happy with what ever is their lot. I think that it was a mistake reading this after just finishing Virgina Woolf. This is just to much a Mans Man book for me. I can't deal with it. So I'm not saying it was aweful...it just wasn't for me!

So I'm now reading a strong woman again. Beverly Connors "Skelton Crew" is what I'm reading now. I good archaeology mystery. I'm half way through and it is really good....so look for this post soon...

6 comments:

Lesley said...

I've been debating about adding this book to my wishlist. Now that I've read your post, I'll probably skip it.

Anonymous said...

Nice review, Dawn and interesting that the majority (or did you say all) of the women characters were portrayed as weak...don't think such a book would appeal to me either. Well, good to know I can scratch this off my TBR list!

w said...

Very lovely blog, and here, an insightful review of Barnes. I can't decide on him yet, and I may still pick up this book, but definitely with your words in mind. Thanks, and have a great New Year!

3M said...

Oh no! I have this on my TBR list--maybe I should push it to next year. You know, that's one of the things I hated about Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I *hated* his female characters. I liked the storyline, I just hated how he portrayed women.

Poplar Reader said...

Have to say that I think it is worth finishing.... you can find an alternate review of it on my blog somewhere. That's not to say I don't have criticisms of the novel, but I still think it's an interesting insight into a strange transitional period of English history. Also, it's a fresh look at an interesting (and very unusual) side show of English history.

In terms of the female characters. Since they are based on real people, it's inevitable that they take on the characteristics of those people - and in Victorian times, as you will be well aware, strong, independent females were few and far between, held down as they were by the limits of the victorian family and societies sexism. So I'm not sure that this is the thing to criticism Barnes' novel for... though, as ever I am open to disagreement.

jenclair said...

I abandoned it last year about this time. For a lot of reasons... :)