Monday, February 01, 2010

Union Atlantic, a Review

I got an Advance Reading copy of Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett, so I read it. All of it. I was so tempted to just quit several times. The book was hard to read and hard to understand. There were moments that bordered on enjoyable, but those were few and far between and hard to find amongst the rest of the verbage. It felt like Adam Haslett was trying to prove his intelligence by writing in a way that most people would find hard to follow.   Often I found myself reading the same paragraph over, trying to figure out what Adam or his characters were trying to say.

Adam never made me care about any of his characters and their improbably entwined lives, unnatural tendencies, and shady business practices. If he had managed to make the world of money and high finance understandable, that may have saved the book, but as it is, I'm just disturbed by the general idea, but I don't understand it any better than I did before. 

Taking some excerpts from, it sounds like it should be a great book - 'The first great novel of the new century' - 'a bleak, brazen, beauty of a book.' - 'this year's hot read' - 'Adam Haslett's page-turner of a debut novel'

Well, you get the idea. I just don't agree. Would I recommend this to a friend? No. Don't waste your time.  Would I even have finished this book if I hadn't gotten a free copy to review?  I really don't think so, and I don't give up on many books. Sorry.  Finally finishing the book was "a kind of relief from the responsibility to understand."  (One line I did like from the book)

If you still want to read it, perhaps to tell me what I've missed - after all, I didn't appreciate The Lovely Bones, The Time Traveler's Wife, or Twilight either, and look where they've ended up - Union Atlantic is set for release on February 9.