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LiterarySara

Literary Sara

What I've been reading on the trolley. 

Currently reading

Salt Fish Girl: A Novel
Larissa Lai
A Place of Greater Safety
Hilary Mantel
Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career
Elizabeth Hyde Stevens
Moby Dick: or, the White Whale
Herman Melville
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: A Novel - Elizabeth L. Silver

As with any eBook, I downloaded and read a sample of this book before I purchased it. Everything I liked about the book was present in the sample: there was mystery, confusion over a murderer's method and motive; there was Philadelphia, providing the class-conflicted backdrop for the scandal; and there appeared to be some seeds of both empathy and critique, which I like to see in a smart book.

 

But none of those seeds really flowered as the narrative plodded on and on toward the final revelation. The prose alternated between mimicking realistically (but dully) inarticulate dialogue and overdressed figures of speech. The narrator is more irritatingly inconsistent than fascinatingly unreliable. The mother of the deceased is a caricatured horror show, and few other characters get enough stage time to make much of an impression. (It's one thing if a narrator is arrogant enough to dismiss the value and depth of other characters; it's quite another thing if the novel does so.) So, I was invested enough to want to find out what really happened, and to get chills when walking around in Rittenhouse Square one night, but it's not a book I would gladly lend to a friend.