Life’s too short for bad books. You read so many and then you’re done whether it is debilitation or death. And the internets are rife with people throwing books at the wall.

But if the writing is beautiful…if the ideas are mind-blowing….
Palimpsest Cover

It’s easy to dismiss substandard fare, but this book defeated me. I brought it back to the library unfinished. It’s prose is almost heart-achingly beautiful (or heart-enjealousing to a writer) and it holds an embarrassment of rich ideas.

The problem was the structure. It was repetitive and that is tough enough, but it was also sinful.

If a book tries to appeal to me as a voyeur, I am the opposite of enticed. I take it as a diss. As a married man, father and disciple there is no benefit to me in imagining strangers rutting ad nauseum. This book did not insult my intelligence but my morality.

I tried to gut past it, but each of the iterations included strangers having meaningless, adulterous sex. After six such chapters back-to-back I became convinced that the narrator was going to drag me through countless empty couplings assuming I enjoyed it. My wife was going to roll over and ask, what I was reading. My God was going to say, “Be holy because I am holy.”

So it’s done. Finis. I have nothing but praise for the writer’s skill, and ear, and had I stuck with it I am sure I would have learned a lot about the craft, but this book did not use the considerable talent spent on it for good.

Have you ever had to stop reading a well-written book?

2 thoughts on “Palimpsest

  1. Grace,

    I haven’t read that one. I think I’ll plan on missing it though. I am seriously impressed with writers that have a lush surface prose. But I also have 30 or so books in my to-read pile and I only get so many books before I croak or my eyes go. (Perhaps I should be teaching myself braille.)

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