Spritzophrenia

humour, music, life, sociology. friendly agnostic.

The Vintner’s Luck is Mud

Posted by spritzophrenia on April 29, 2010

Sometimes books lauded by the critics aren’t actually that good.

For example, a couple of friends have told me that “The Shipping News” is a dull, depressing book. I also had that impression from my brief skim of it. The reading public don’t always get it right either. Not many people think Dan Brown is a good writer, even if his conspiracy thrillers are diverting. I think he’s a good screenwriter, he writes well enough to sketch a framework upon which a skilled director can create an entertaining film. But his books are pop pulp.

The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox is another such emperor with no clothes, in my opinion. I’m about halfway through and I’m still waiting to be wowed. One of the most frustrating things is the poor writing. At numerous points it seems the author has confused subject and object, or similar kinds of errors. For example, she’ll use the word “that” and leave me wondering what the “that” is referring to. This results in clunky confused sentences. Sure, it’s not every sentence, but every few pages is enough to warrant better editing. Yes, the characters are vaguely interesting but There’s not really a lot of story to be had, beyond the bare bones of the life of an 18th Century French winemaker. The addition of an angel and a murder mystery seem almost artificial devices trying to lift a dull plot.

I read a lot, and I like to think I know something about good writing.
At least, I know what I like.

How about you? Any “famous” books that you haven’t been impressed with?

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