Wednesday, 4 September 2013
If books were chocolate, the last one I read - Stoner - would be three crisp, snappy squares of bitter Valrhona to be nibbled on and savoured.
And this one would be an over-large bar of Galaxy, consumed in naive belief that calories don't count if you gobble it fast enough.
It was a pleasant, quick read that will linger in my mind at least until I start thinking about putting tonight's dinner on. On the face of it, it's a charming idea, an epistolary love affair between a young, married poet living on a croft on Skye and an impetuous young American lad who becomes an ambulance driver in WW1.
But I didn't believe in them, didn't believe in their voices, especially hers, didn't believe even in the mechanics of the story, ie that her poetry would have made anything like enough money for her to go gadding off to Paris and London hotels. Would a crofter's daughter in 1913, who had never left Skye, ask someone if they had started writing the Great American Novel?
Perhaps this is best left to American readers. It's an American author, an American publisher - and, as Cornflower said when she reviewed it, many readers won't be troubled by the niggles. Jessica Brockmole, who comes from the Midwest, spent a week on the Isle of Skye and started scribbling notes in the car on the way home. Maybe I'm being mean. I wouldn't have bothered reviewing it, except I'm tied to my desk waiting for someone to come out of a meeting.