Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: The End by Salvatore Scibona

The End
"...we may perceive ourselves to be careening aimlessly through space, when in fact distant events have thrown us into long, elliptical, cometlike, orbits, far from our origins, and eventually we will circle back on people whose lives preceded and gave rise to our own."

The End is the kind of book for people who primarily enjoy language in their reading, and lots and lots of character introspection. It's for someone with buckets of patience who is rather unconcerned with a forward moving plot but is content to reread passages in order to understand what the heck is going on.

In other words, it's not the sort of book for me, especially when I'm having a hard time reading anything!

I think I should give you an idea of what the book is about...there are a bunch of characters, each of them rather sad if you ask me, and after looking up some reviews on this book apparently the majority of the story takes place on Ascension Day in 1953 but there is a lot of time flashes in the book where it jumps around. And that's really all I can say because I'm not sure I understood the plot for this one. There are several characters, it takes place in Ohio--primarily in an Italian immigrant community. There's a baker, an abortionist, a farmer, a student, and more!

I can't even tell the point of view the book is written in, at times it seemed third person, third person omniscient and even second person. And there were flashbacks or were they dreams? that were in all italics. Much of what happens is embedded in the constant stream of thought of the characters, for example, I didn't realize a character had died and had to go back and reread a passage to understand what happened.

It isn't that there weren't some lovely passages, there were some passages and thought provoking sections that even I could enjoy, but this is not the kind of book I like to read. As I was struggling to get through it, I noticed the book compared the writing to Faulkner, Joyce, and Woolf. Oh, I should have been more careful in choosing my book!

I read this as part of the Spotlight on Small Press blog tour for Graywolf Press.

Rating: 2.5/5 (because while I understand that this was a well received book critically and a National Book Award Finalist no less, I didn't enjoy reading it)
Things You Might Want To Know: I think there was a little bit of profanity
Source of Book: bought a used copy
Pubisher: Graywolf Press


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