Friday, May 25, 2012
A year or more ago I saw an episode of Prime Suspect on PBS (the original BBC version, not the American remake). Later I learned that Lynda La Plante had written the book on which the television series was based. At the time my local bookstore did not have the Prime Suspect series of books, but it did have another series by La Plante, this one featuring Anna Travis, an upcoming murder detective. So I gave the series a try.
Clean Cut begins with a happy Anna and James Langton. They're police detectives and James is more senior than Anna. Their relationship is serious enough that James has all but moved in with Anna and as such, they try to avoid working on the same cases together because of their relationship. Their lives are turned upside down when James is slashed by machete while attempting to apprehend a murder suspect. Though Anna plays the role of the dutiful girlfriend throughout the ordeal, the often selfish James and his recovery takes a toll on their relationship. Meanwhile the case Anna is working on ends up being connected to the attack on James and the case he was working on when he was attacked.
Clean Cut is the third in the Anna Travis series, and the third one I've read. It is not my favorite in the series, in fact, I was a bit disappointed. The writing was a lot telling rather than showing, with sentence after sentence telling the reader that the character did this and then he did that, and after that he did this. There was a constant tirade against immigrants throughout the book. There were dozens of characters to keep track of, most of whom were fairly one-dimensional. The two characters with the most fleshed out characters were of course Anna and James. I found Langton to be particularly tiresome here, but maybe I just don't go for his type of charm.
Still I'm not giving up on La Plante and Anna Travis. I enjoyed Above Suspicion and Red Dahlia, the first two books in the series, and am holding out hope for the rest of the series.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
“Is the novel a space of risk and adventure, or a refuge from the world?” Tim Parks on Fear and Literature
Fear and Literature by Tim Parks | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
This quote appeared in my Twitter feed, and my initial response was novels are both spaces for risk and adventure, and a refuge. I have certainly used reading as a means to explore the world beyond my immediate situation, and as a means to escape and hide from the world. What about you, how would you answer this question?