And the internet loves this book. The internet raves about this book, about its ‘complex orchestration’ and about Carey as an ‘exuberant stylist’ and maybe that’s the problem. Because those descriptors imply phrases like ‘as a result, my organ of curiosity was made irritable’ or ‘the truly horrible and unrelenting lowing of the condemned cattle which, particularly on winter afternoons, at that hour when the servants have once more failed to light the lanterns, distresses me beyond belief.’ Neither of these are laughably terrible, right? But they are kind of show-offy, especially when (in the case of the second) they are just setting a scene. A long, interminable scene (or a ‘memorable tableau’! Depending on who you are).
This is probably 40% a novel trying too hard, 50% not being suited to my tastes, and 10% why don’t I have a monkey butler? Some of you will probably ‘get’ it and love it and I won’t think less of you for it.
Requisite ass-covering: thanks to RandomHouse for the copy.