Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reading Journal: A Week of This, by Nathan Whitlock (2008)

A catalogue of the depressing aspects of life a mere hour outside Toronto, where failing small businesses, long-term but never married couples, and broken families make up the cast of characters. Whitlock's over-arching choice to tell his story in seven parts, one day each, allows for a very nuanced chronicle, but the drawback of this approach - same problem I had with David Adams Richards' everything-happens-in-one-day novel, Hope in the Desperate Hour - is that you start to get the feeling that nothing's really happening, because every little detail is recorded, burying the important ones. Overall, though, Whitlock's style is eloquent, changing registers entirely - sometimes successfully, sometimes not - when he wants a character to make a particularly bracing point, and I didn't mind getting to the end. I was hoping for a more dramatic conclusion, given the character goals laid out at the beginning, but after the entirely undramatic first six chapters, I suppose the final fade-out is exactly the point. I'm interested to see what this author does next; I think he wrote a pretty good book, but to me it wasn't at all exciting... which, equally, was probably also the point...

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