Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The Russian Debutante's Handbook
Not a lot of reading has got done round these parts since the trip to Paris in November. I blame novel comedown for this, although I could just as easily blame this book, because I've got to conclude (sorry Eoghan, who bought it for me, back at Christmas 2004) that I just didn't really like it. I'm very hard to please with comic novels, and this one just outstayed its welcome, had too much detail, a lead character I didn't really care about, and a bunch of secondary characters who just don't really do anything. It also commits the greatest sin that a comic novel can, which is that it is not only not very funny, it's nothing like as funny as it thinks it is.
In a way, though, it does make an interesting companion piece to Of Human Bondage, which I am ashamed to say was the last book I read (back in November!), because it is also about a young, feckless man making his way in the world without much in the way of guidance. He also gets in over his head because of a woman, and ends up travelling to other countries and living on not very much money. But there the similarities end. I'm not sure I'd recommend this to anyone, but I suppose it could just have been me and the mood I was in when I read it.
Have you read it? What did you think? (I keep forgetting to put these little questions in. Not that it matters, noone answers them.)