Saturday, July 30, 2011

Girl Reading by Katie Ward

This book was confusing.

It's a collection of 7 stories, about girls/women reading. I borrowed the book, because I liked the meta-fiction joke of me (a girl) reading a book called Girl Reading.

The style of the book is a little strange. It doesn't seem to have any punctuation included for speech, not even the "-" used by James Joyce. This makes it a little difficult to separate the thoughts from speech, which is a little disorientating. I suppose there's a literary effect there, but I'm not sure what it is.

The first few stories were good. Interesting and engaging, they covered the story behind the painting. However the rest of the stories (actually, from story 3 or 4 onwards), it seemed to move focus to talk about the life of women. I couldn't, for quite a few stories, actually see where the portrait of the 'Girl Reading' was taken. At times, it didn't even seem as though anyone was even reading. I actually got so confused I almost stopped reading.

But since I was more than halfway through, I figured I'd persevere. I think, the last story almost rescued the book. It's set in a high-tech world, with something called Mesh (which is unfortunately, not explained for some time). It attempts to link all the stories together, by using SIBIL (a machine that tells the 'background' of paintings). However, it became a story more about reality versus imagination.

I'd have enjoyed this book much more if I wasn't expecting all the stories to be about reading. The disorientating style of writing probably didn't help either.

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