Monday, May 09, 2005
22: Less is more
I remarked on I Love Books that I was not enjoying John Lanchester's The Debt to Pleasure. One response I got said
"If you don't have a big interest in food, France, classic detective fiction, the Ripley books and so on it would probably seem a bit pointless."
I was forced to admit that I had an interest in none of those things, and so I found the book completely boring (hey! Just like I found The Talented Mr. Ripley completely boring!). Once again, if the blurb on the back had been better written, it could have alerted me to this similarity and I would have avoided the book.
The story concerns a gourmand and bon viveur, a man fond of the sound of his own voice (which is very tiresome and littered with French phrases) and his own opinions on the subject of Art, specifically, what is great art? He is envious of his brother, deluded in his view of the world, lazy and shiftless, and generally a thoroughly dislikeable person. Which would be fine, except that I didn't just register his dislikeability, I actively disliked him. Bit of a problem.
I'm not saying this is a bad book. I just, well, didn't like it.