28 December 2014
J by Howard Jacobson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I understand why people enjoy literary fiction. I assume it's a lot of the same reason why I like independent movies and such. For me, a book is something that needs to usually grab me to keep me interested, and J at least had a pretty cool hook that got me into reading it. Unfortunately, the execution left me wanting a lot more.
The story follows a few different plots following some sort of event. We don't know what that event was, and neither does anyone else - they just know something happened, and refer to it in the abstract. It couldn't have been too bad, as there's not significant damage or loss of life, but it's still pretty much changed everyone.
The problem is certainly a lack of payoff with this book, something I've come to expect from the more literary genres. A few conspiracy threads felt unresolved, the main storyline unsatisfying. I wanted a lot more from this than I ended up getting. With all of that said, however, there's a reason this has been nominated for so many awards - the flow is good and the book is fairly engaging in spite of some of the really significant flaws.
Those who enjoy these types of books will probably love this. If you're looking for an adult dystopia of sorts that keeps the action coming, however, there are different places to look instead.
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