Today I had to DNF a book – and I realize that I recently talked about this and how I rarely DNF, but I went into a book completely unprepared. It was a highly anticipated read for me this year – however, I neglected to factor in that the book is some form of experimental fantasy that isn’t even suitable for people who enjoy fantasy.
I struggle through fantasy.
Which is why The Vorrh by Brian Catling was perhaps a bad choice for me at the moment and I was only able to make it through 4 or so chapters before setting it down. What pushed me away is that there is no clear story line at all, it’s all jumbled word vomit that apparently people like a lot.
Sadly, I also have the sequel to this book, The Erstwhile as I had planned to read them back to back like I did books 1 & 2 of the Themis Files.
I do not know if or when I’ll make another attempt at these books.
I guess I enjoy clarity in the books that I read and, quite frankly, The Vorrh did not have that – or any semblance of coherency for that matter. Many reviews like to describe the book as being “lyrical” or being “a painting of words” – but they neglect to point out that it’s as “lyrical” as a dada poem or to mention that the type of ‘word painting’ they mean is something like a Jackson Pollock rather than a Rembrandt.
When I think of authors who paint with words, two come to mind: Jose Saramago and David McCullough – they use there words deliberately to create elaborately detailed and beautiful images in the stories they write. Catling on the other hand just strung a variety of words together with the blind hope something sensical came out – people with vivid imaginations apparently believe something worth reading did materialize…
…I remain unconvinced however.
The book has so many glowing reviews that I wonder if I was even reading the same text they were.
Although, for the time being I’m moving on from Catling’s catastrophe, I’m not exactly moving away from the fantasy genre. I’m going to make a worthwhile attempt at Bernhard Hennen’s The Elven and see if that works out better for me. So far – despite taking place in a mythical world, there is a coherent story line on display directly from the first page.
So this looks more promising.