30 August 2009

Blackberry Wine Take 2 (Joanne Harris)

AHHH... I simply cannot muster up the required enthusiasm to review Blackberry Wine properly. Lack of enthusiasm? I hear our devoted readers ask. Pas de problème!

But it is a problem. Last time I panned one of Harris' books I was subject to a vitriolic tirade of derision from Earhart. Harris is one of her favourite authors and the outcome of this argument was that Earhart was right and in the future I will resist dipping my toes in the pool of negative reviews unless I know what I'm talking about.

So now I am sitting here, in my tartan pyjamas, drinking a cup of tea. I bought these pyjamas when I moved over here because I thought they were very English. These, combined with my tea, have been conducive in creating the zen that surrounds me at this very moment. I cannot muster up the energy to be disparaging about Blackberry Wine, knowing it could cause more sisterly tension.

THUS, I will be succinct in my criticisms:
The characters could have all benefited from further development.
Harris has since developed more subtlety in her work but this novel and The Evil Seed demonstrate Harris' earlier tendency to take her imagery and bash the reader over the head with it.
Jay, the protagonist, drinks wine made out of potatoes. I know, I know vodka can be made out of potatoes... but, no, I'm sorry. Wine? Ew.
I do have to commend Harris on her ability to make seemingly innocuous people or events very menacing. She always leaves me feeling slightly unsettled. Do I adore her novels... not particularly. But better to leave me feeling uneasy and jumping at shadows when I walk past the graveyard on my way home than totally unmoved. Apathy is not what I look for in a novel.

Rating: 6/10.

Coming up...

Orlando by Virginia Woolf.
If I Never by Gary William Murning
This Side of Paradise by F.Scott Fitzgerald
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