Friday, August 26, 2011
"The Sentimentalists", by Johanna Skibsrud
This debut novel, a sombre story of the unreliability of memory and the emotional ghosts of war won its author the prestigious Scotianbank Giller Prize in 2010.
Skibsrub's background as a poet stands out immediately. The prose is heavy in precision, mainly focussing on words and turns of phrases and less on the action and character development. In my humble opinion this book is overwritten, it is composed with an astounding play on words and over use of adjectives that may be appealing to some but not all.
The novel is narrated by an unnamed person who returns to stay with her father, a Vietnam War veteran. She recalls her father's life in a meandering voice that moves between the present and the past and shifts rather awkwardly between Fargo, ND and Casablanca, Ontario and the battlefields of Vietnam.
The first half of the book was so tedious it fast became boring and I simply lost interest, only 200 pages and I couldn't stick with it till the end ...Something I rarely do....So in all fairness I leave others to be the judge.