Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The way I found it

I've been reading a recent acquisition from the big-box bookstore bargain bin, The Way I Found Her, by Rose Tremain, and I haven't been particularly enjoying it. It's narrated in the first person by a 13-year-old boy, and I really can't get past this voice to let myself enjoy the story.

I really enjoyed Tremain's Music and Silence, which I read in the very first days after moving Montreal, and completely lost myself in it while I holed up in bed with exhaustion and a touch of flu and pregnancy. Historical romance is not really my thing, but it transported me to a time and place like a much-needed vacation.

The Way I Found Her is set in contemporary Paris.

Every act of reading fiction requires a suspension of disbelief, some more than others. But I have great difficulty buying into narrators opposite in sex to the authors when they use the first person construction. (Nick Hornby's treatment in How to Be Good is a notable exception, but I had approached it with great trepidation for that first-person/opposite-sex narrator reason.) It's one thing to play out the story from a character's perspective, but first person is crossing a line.

Though I'm just 50 pages from the end, I can't justify bringing this on my trip. Space is at premium, and I've already packed a carefully selected fat paperback. I'll have to finish Tremain when I get back, even though I don't really care how it ends.

Perhaps I'll have better things to say about this book then. Perhaps not.

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