Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

The Ruins

RuinsThe Ruins by Scott Smith

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I never read A Simple Plan, but I sure did hear about it when it was first published. Scott Smith was a first novelist, and he received a huge contract, a movie deal, etc., etc., etc. It certainly made anyone entertaining ideas of becoming a published author jealous.

Thirteen years later, Scott Smith has delivered his second novel, and I have mixed feelings about it. The dialogue is tight and convincing, but there’s so little of it in the novel, and the narrative grows a little tiresome. The characters are distinctive and realistic, but at the same time, they seem to be without any complexity. The scenes are vivid, but in some cases, almost obscenely so; the passages of violence are detailed to the point of being microscopic, and they’re quite uncomfortable.

Despite all this, the book is compellingly readable. There’s an underlying mystery (that, honestly, is pretty obvious as soon as it starts to reveal itself) that the characters have to discover, and after a while, you realize that the point of the story isn’t if they’re going to survive their ordeal, but for how long. The ending is one of hopelessness, and I get enough out of that watching the news to want to have that in my fiction, too.

I hesitate to reveal too much about the details of the book. The bookflap blurb about the story is vague and misleading, so the story really is a surprise, and I would hate to spoil it for anyone. Smith has a crisp writing style, and it’s worth discovering, but beware the darker nature of this book.

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September 9, 2006 - Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews

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