mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Times I think reading genre has unfitted me for reading anything else. On this impromptu holiday, I've been reading those worthy 'might be interesting' books that sit on my shelves year after year, and reached Jill Paton Walsh's Goldengrove Unleaving, the compendium of the two separately titled YA books from the 70s. (The 70s' notion of YA is, as everyone says on Goodreads, utterly bizarre.) This- or Unleaving, in any case- is a book that is, I-do-not-lie, 60% descriptions of landscape: or seascape, rather, and I have to wonder what's the *point* of having something like
The waves play around the rock, filling the foreground with endless movement, with random bursts of white, and the more distant ocean juggles with falling light, keeping a million sequins of sunshine rocking and gleaming and shining back
repeated in varying detail every few pages.

What's not seascape is the obscure sort of characters I've come to expect in English fiction, who think and feel things I never have. I suppose there are late teen undergraduates who fall in love with someone and discern their innate character after a mere two weeks of social acquaintance, and even younger women, completely inexperienced, who decide who they'll marry on the same basis, and it does *not* turn out badly: only I've never met them in RL.

But the safety of this kind of fiction- everyday life and beautiful prose for the sake of beautiful prose- is that, in theory, it will never dump genre events on you. No vampires, serial killers, mermen, psychics, or corpses: and the romance will be, well, not genre romance at least. In theory. But Paton Walsh does not play fair and I shall avoid her assiduously in future.
Tags: reading, reading_15

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