29 January 2009

Five Quarters of the Orange (Joanne Harris)

Hmmm... I really don't know where to go with this review. In one corner we have evocative writing, memorable characters and a relatively solid plotline. In the other corner we have an elusive pike (yes, the fish), a hatred of clocks never explained or justified, migraine-inducing oranges, a heroine with the face of a toad (by her own admission) and a mother who makes the SS seem the lesser of two evils.

Not that these make the novel bad per se, but it's all a bit much. I put the book down and breathed a sigh of relief that I had finished and could move on. Except I can't move on because that pike keeps popping up in my mind and unsettling me.
Sure, I like being creeped out.
But a freaking huge, ancient, evil, intelligent pike that can grant wishes and curse people?
Yadiyadiyada... we still have Harris' trademark magical realism, the interweaving of recipes with the story, that description of children as 'dark and sly' that she seems to favour (I believe blondes have been known to have the occasional immoral moment); but... no. Tolerable, but NO.

N.B. Earhart loves everything Harris has ever written and vehemently disagrees with this review.
Pick a side.

Rating: 6/10.
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