Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

A Simple Plan

Simple PlanA Simple Plan by Scott Smith

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I didn’t expect to read Smith’s first novel so soon after having finished The Ruins, but that’s how my holds came through at the library. I don’t like reading too much of one author all at once, because it starts to temper the way I see things, and affect my own moods. A Simple Plan seems to be as dark and as hopeless as The Ruins, so I quit reading it about a quarter of the way into the book.

The book is well written, even though Smith focuses so much on the minutiae of his story, but by the point in the novel where I quit, I had no sympathy for any of the main characters. The narrator started out as a likeable enough guy, but after the simple plan becomes not so simple, he’s as ruthless as the secondary characters. He’s so focused on the inscrutable plan that he risks just about everything else in his life — including his family — to pursue it. Maybe that’s the premise of the story, though, that money corrupts. Still, I get too much of this sort of thing from the real world to want to experience it in my entertainment, too.

This is going to be a short month if I don’t find something that interests me.

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September 20, 2006 Posted by | Unfinished | Leave a comment

A Scanner Darkly & Three Days to Never

Scanner DarklyI like Philip K. Dick’s writing, but I think I made a mistake in trying to read A Scanner Darkly so soon after seeing it in the theater.  The director seems to have made a loyal translation of the book to the movie, so there were few surprises, and I kept seeing the actors who played the roles in the movie.  I also found myself waiting to reach certain points in the story, and I eventually adandoned the book at page 72.  There were too many spoilers to keep me engaged in the book.

NeverI had the same experience with Three Days to Never as I did with Declare: I reached the point where I was struggling too much to figure out what the hell was going on.  I like Tim Powers a lot (I think The Anubis Gates is one of the cleverest novels ever written), but these two were too muddled and indistinct for me to grasp the reality of the story.  I felt the same way about The Stress of Her Regard, and still felt lost when I had finished that book.

I know that I’ll return to Three Days to Never at some point.  I think I’m just not in the right frame of mind to read something dense and obtuse; in a few years, I may be ready for something like that.  At least, I hope that’s the case.  I have a copy of Declare at home that I bought under the same rationalization.

September 18, 2006 Posted by | Unfinished | Leave a comment

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

IlluminatusThe Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

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I'd heard a lot about this book years back, but it never piqued my interest enough to want to read it. Once Dan Brown became so popular, though, this collection caught my attention again, and I decided to give it a try. I liked Angels & Demons, so I figured maybe I'd like this one, too.

I struggled with this book. The points of view jumped too dramatically for me, and I couldn't determine who was narrating the story. The narrator seemed to jump from one person to the next, but at the same time, I was wondering if it was all the same person, just that that person became different people along the way. After about 100 pages, though, I'd had enough. I couldn't track what was going on, and the action and intrigue wasn't enough to keep me wanting to read it. I haven't had as hard of a time following a story since reading Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury in college.

Maybe this book is as good as I seem to have heard. I'll never know, though, unless I decide to try reading this again in the future.

May 30, 2006 Posted by | Adult Fiction, Unfinished | 4 Comments