mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Reading disappointments

I couldn't get into Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe series. It felt just a bit... off? Condescending? Something oogey, whatever. But my bro gave me one of his Isabel Dalhousie mysteries, which went down much better. Sort of. Except, er well. Something just a bit off there too. Possibly the man shouldn't be shelved under mystery: I kept waiting for the crime to emerge and be solved, and it didn't and wasn't. And Isabel using moral philosophy to resolve purely emotional issues doesn't strike me as amusing, assuming it's supposed to. It made me want to tell her to face facts and get a grip.

Equally, the weird tales of Rudyard Kipling are far more unpleasant than I'd remembered, not for the weirdness but for the bland arrogance of the narrators. I keep hoping that they're meant to come off as morally reprehensible (I am not at all a subtle reader) but somehow I doubt it. When someone *is* morally reprehensible, such as the narrator of The Phantom Rickshaw, several people say so bluntly. Nothing of the sort happens in The Mark of the Beast or The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes. Then again, this webpage has corrective interpretations for the nonsubtle. 'Kipling has created a genuine Anglo-Indian nightmare, a vision of what it would be like to be one of the least of the ruled instead of one of the rulers.'

(And is the phantom rickshaw where paleaswater's soubriquet of Kitty Mannering came from?)

On an up note, Yoshimoto Banana's Lizard is marvellous: tales of people touched by grace, or whatever the non-Christian version of that is.
Tags: reading, reading_11

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