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14-05-2021, 16:42   #226
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Originally Posted by A Lamb Named Miltiades! View Post
Madame Bovary.

This is a very disappointing book. The main problem is that it isn't sufficiently bad to give up halfway through — there are flashes of brilliance in the character construction, and it is occasionally very funny (the chapter set at the agricultural show is is a masterpiece). So you keep going, more out of hope than genuine enjoyment, plodding and trudging through a swamp of extraneous language and florid prose.

Not since I was forced to read Barbara Cartland in a bookless air bnb on a wet holiday in Donegal have I been so bored by a novel.
Who forced you to read it?
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15-05-2021, 10:57   #227
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There's a general policy of over rating Irish authors in Ireland. Kevin Barry, Joseph O'Connor, Colum McCann, John Boyne, that lad from Wexford, have all written some terribly self indulgent muck, but not one critic will ever, ever criticise these sacred cows. Which is unfortunate.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was simply massively overrated.
Everything by Joseph O'Connor is terrible. Kevin Barry similarly way overrated.
I know that this is very old post, but I've just tried to read Kevin Barry for the first time and was searching for mentions. I couldn't get past the first 10 pages of City of Bohane. When glancing at some of the writing it looked like an extreme variant of colloquialisms from Cork or Limerick, which I didn't get. Colloquialisms can cause trouble as they are naturally, so why bother trying an extreme variant? When I actually got down to reading it properly it was worse than I thought; it was a mix of South Western and African American slang, which resulted in a bizarre hybrid that was genuinely tough to read. The kind of writing the forces you to read a sentence several times to try and understand what is being said. While I truly think that people should write how they want to write, writing like his is the least attractive to me. If something takes great effort from sentence to sentence, it's very hard to view it with any sort of favorability.

The only lesson learned from this experience, is to not take book recommendations from Irish literary elite, as anytime I do I'm nearly always left underwhelmed.

Last edited by TomTomTim; 15-05-2021 at 11:01.
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15-05-2021, 11:34   #228
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In relation to irish authors, I'm often struck by the number of interviews i read or hear which reference a "golden age" for Irish writing, when i think what is more accurate is that it is a golden age for publishing. In that, i don't believe quantity should ever be mistaken for quality. That said, i personally hold Colum McCann to be a very underrated writer, Let the Great World Spin remains one of the best novels I've read over the past 15-20 years. I think he's one of the best we've ever had.
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