Tuesday, December 19, 2006

From the Stacks Challenge

I've finished the second book on my From the Stacks Challenge list; I wrote last week about The Memoirs of Helen of Troy: A Novel. I couldn't sleep Sunday night, so I was awake until about 2 am to finish it. Truthfully, I really wanted to get it over with. As I mentioned, an interesting story but not great writing. The author wanted to pick up on the use of epithets that are famous in Homer's writing (one of the few things I remember from my Classic lit class -- thanks Professor Hoyle!).

Except it sounds a little over the top. And it's not very consistent. On one page she refers to "spear-famed Achilles." Less than two pages later, it's "spear-famed Menelaus." This in a book where she also uses the phrase "pretty much," which I find modern in the extreme. I'm generally not that picky about that sort of thing; this is fiction, after all. If I really want to know about Helen of Troy, I'll pick up a history book. But in this case, the use of language was obtrusive and made the book difficult to enjoy.

On to The Ambassadors, which will be a challenge, because I always find Henry James a challenge. And I have picked up Race and Reunion again; now that I'm back into it, I am enjoying it. There is a lot going on in that book and I'll see if I can summarize some of it when I'm finished.

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