Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DNF - America, America; Ethan Canin













Has anyone read America, America; Ethan Canin, or listened to the audio version?  I've struggled with the audio version for over a month, and finally gave up, and chalked it upas a DNF.  The reader, Robertson Dean was very good, it is just that the story seemed to go off in too many different directions. Before long, it became harder and harder to turn on my iPod and continue listening.  I saw this Booklist review, and it pretty much summed up what I was feeling before I called it quits.

BOOKLIST.....Canin received much acclaim for his short story collections, Emperor of the Air (1988) and The Palace Thief (1994), and, despite middling results with the longer form in his subsequent novels, he remains quite popular. In this, his fourth novel, he again struggles with pacing issues, an awkward chronology, and underdeveloped characters. He reimagines the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination with a libertarian senator, a beacon of hope for “the great decline of FDR’s party,” as the eventual front-runner to dislodge Nixon from the White House. Behind the fictional senator’s meteoric rise and tragic fall (which come off as neither meteoric nor tragic) is kingmaker Liam Metarey, head of a powerful New York family with deep union and progressive roots. Told from the point of view of Corey Sifter, a young man taken under the wing of the Metareys during the historic campaign, the story often jumps forward to focus on Corey’s present-day relationship with his daughters and father. Instead of playing off of each other, the two plotlines simply come off as two distinct novellas too thin to survive on their own but gaining little resonance from being grafted together. The novel is trying to be too many things at once—there are a lot of ideas and plenty of elegant passages but not enough to carry this one through.

The average Amazon reviewer gave this book 4/5 stars so maybe I'm the problem? In the end it just was not my kind of book.  I'd love to hear from other who read this novel.

8 comments:

  1. I always take amazon's reviews with a grain of salt. Sorry this didn't work for you.

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  2. Nah...you're not the problem. This just wasn't the right book for you. Do you download these to your iPod or do you purchase them from somewhere?

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  3. You are not the problem. I chucked this book, too. There was absolutely no dramatic tension and EVERYBODY in it was a tool.

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  4. I should feature some of my DNF's sometime. Although the majority of those I don't finish aren't terrible, I just lose interest and move on to other things.

    It's too bad that this one didn't work for you.

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  5. Hmm, this is on my audible wish list. Think I'll reconsider...

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  6. This book sounds very uninteresting to me, so I can't imagine that the problem is with you. Sometimes books and I just don't agree with each other, and it sounds like this is just one of those that I wouldn't like.

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  7. I read and actually enjoyed this book but I do think it it is a bit "slow" and those sort of books don't always translate well to audio.

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  8. This one doesn't sound like it would work for me either.

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