Tuesday, February 05, 2008

perishable goods

In general Last Orders is a buddy movie/road trip story about four friends who go to throw a dead man’s ashes in the ocean. The back cover says this is “his peculiar last wish: to have his ashes scattered in the sea.” If that’s a peculiar wish, call me Ishmael. The front cover is better – nice picture, no?

I wasn’t wild about this book. It took a while to get into and even then, the story was unremarkable. It wasn’t until page 100 that I felt able to keep the characters straight. Still, I think the switching of narrators/points of view added a lot to the book, Faulknerian in its way, but not as complicated. The male voices were convincing, though at first I had trouble distinguishing them. The voice of Amy, one of the few women in the book, didn’t come off well in my opinion.

The style made the pace seem plodding at first, and the road trip interminable. But as the narrative bore out, I liked the way the pieces came together to tell the life stories of the characters. Life could be beautiful but we make mistakes. Life could be beautiful but we can't get over ourselves and our limitations. I thought the closing scene was wonderful in both atmosphere and wording. But overall it seemed rather weak for the Booker Prize. Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane, shortlisted the same year, was better.

That is the fifth book of six for the Booker Challenge I'm doing. I'm leaving it off for awhile to read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.


Jasmine said...

I read ur blog in the morning,and couldn't post a comment at that time.
I'm so engrossed,my days of blog surfing have found a fruitful result!
I love your friday confessions,your poems (though I still haven't tried the links to your poems off blogger),reviews,all of it...
You're linked to my blog now too!

SarahJane said...

that's very nice of you. thanks.

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