Thursday, October 15, 2009

One hit wonders?

'Her Fearful Symmetry' by Audrey Niffenegger is sitting on my sofa waiting to be read. I am both afraid and anticipatory. Her previous novel, 'The Time Traveler's Wife' is one of the most beautiful and devastating books I have read, with a unique approach to time travel which makes it seem almost natural. I have high hopes for her new book.

However, I've found that when I read anything by the authors of some of my favourite novels, they're just not that good. 'The Poisonwood Bible' is deeply engaging and takes you into another culture and unbelievable lives. 'The Bean Trees', also by Barbara Kingsolver, is ok, but I wouldn't go further than that. 'The Secret History' is very clever and dark and involving, but 'The Little Friend' is just unpleasant. And 'We need to talk about Kevin' - well... To finally find someone who would admit the possibility that having children might not be everything it is cracked up to be, to have a believable and likeable character say that they weren't really sure they wanted children, but had one anyway, and it turned out they didn't really like it - it posed questions, it moved me, it challenged me. Whereas Lionel Shriver's other two novels which I have read - I don't like anyone in 'Double Fault' and 'The Post-Birthday World' just really isn't good.

Maybe it isn't fair to describe these authors as one-hit wonders just because I like one book so much more than the others. Maybe their other novels are actually not that bad, just not as good as the books I love. Maybe it's me - some books just struck a chord with me and I failed to connect with the others. But whatever, I'll let you know how I get on with my new book.