Two books abandoned in the past week:
Until I Find You by John Irving. This started really slowly. Jack (age 4) and his mother (the famous tattoo artist known as Daughter Alice) wander around Europe searching for Jack’s unreliable church-organist/tattoo-addicted father, William. By the time Jack and Alice arrive in Finland, always one step behind William, I was just really bored. Then I read this review in the Guardian and I was just plain weirded out. I have loved a lot of John Irving books, but not so many recently.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This got a lot of good press but I didn’t like it enough to stick with it. It’s a mystery novel starring the motherless 11-year-old science whiz/amateur sleuth Flavia de Luce and it’s set in the British countryside in 1950. Bradley’s writing is self-consciously eccentric; he adopts a kind of faux 1950’s detective story narration style with lots of breathless end-of-chapter revelations. Writing in the Guardian, reviewer Laura Wilson says “Flavia… is so precocious that, if she existed, every adult she met would be itching to slap her.” I wanted to slap her even though she doesn’t exist.