Girl reading by Katie Ward is a collection of short stories that interweave women, books and art in various ways. Here you can find my thoughts on the first two stories. And here on the second set of two stories.
The fifth story “Unknown. For pleasure. 1916” is about a group of people spending some time together in the house of a rather unconventional academic and editor. The main character is a young silly girl who is infatuated with a painter who, of course, ignores her.
I quite liked this but it reminded me again of tons of other stories out there. If it had been set a little later and located at the Mediterranean, we would have read this story a hundred times before.
There was one little paragraph though that I really enjoyed. Gwen just found out that Laurence has “betrayed” her by sleeping with someone else.
Surprisingly, this is not how she imagined it would feel. Where is the misery? Where is the despair? Where is the crying out his name, and the beating of her breast?Gwen does not feel them. She is miffed. She is thoroughly put out. Apparently, a love spurned feels about as painful as finding out Emily Dibner has been named hockey captain. Pretty bad, but not too bad.
That puts things back into perspective. And reading this made the whole story worthwhile.
The sixth story “Immaterialism. Reader in a Shoreditch bar. 2008” took a while for me to finally get to the point. I would have enjoyed the whole thing if I hadn’t disliked the heroine that much. I just couldn’t connect with her at all for various reasons. When it eventually got to the Shoreditch bar and the “girl reading” I finally got into it.
The seventh story “Sincerity Yabuki. Sibil. 2060” was just so so for me. I am not a particular fan of Sci-Fi, especially when I am getting thrown into an unexplained futuristic environment which seems at the same time different and very much the same as ours. On the one hand I found the mesh concept too odd and at the same time too similar to our time to draw me in. Plus, I found words like i-specs and sim-kitty rather trite. Maybe realistic, but trite nevertheless.
The idea about Sibil was a nice twist as the ending for this book, but, again, at the same time too half-baked, both as an invention by Sincerity as well as by Katie Ward. Why anyone would want to use it I can’t imagine.
To come back to the “novel” aspect, this is another thing which didn’t work for me. This book is no novel. The last story, which obviously was supposed to tie the stories together, didn’t succeed. Sorry, but you can’t just come up with a “Sibil” and create a loose connection and then think this makes it a novel.
Looking back at my thoughts about all seven stories, I would say it was an ok book, but I don’t understand what the hype is all about.
WANT TO KNOW WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK? HAVE A LOOK AT:
- Read, what Caroline is thinking about Girl Reading.
- Judith told me she has given up the book, she is not a big lover of short stories. Too bad, as I was really looking forward to her thoughts on the book.