Difference of opinion

I got to thinking this morning how extremely differently two sets of eyes can see the same thing. My brother started reading A Fraction of the Whole, a novel by Steve Toltz that was shortlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize, because I recommended it. I asked him if he’d read White Tiger, the actual winner of the award, and he said no because I’d told him not to bother! And it’s true. I found White Tiger to be reasonably well written but the story-line didn’t do anything for me and the result was a book that left me uninspired. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the way A Fraction of a Whole was written and LOVED the plot… it left me wondering how on earth someone had imagined such a crazy series of events but managed to portray them in such a way that one could forget they were reading a work of fiction from time to time.

The more concerning thought to come from this realisation is that perhaps I’m just a story-line junkie, that I’m not a true appreciator of literary ability. I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera as recommended by Mon as one of her favourite books and to be honest I’m just not getting the vibe. Must explore this disturbing idea and hopefully prove to myself that it’s not all just about the plot!

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3 responses to “Difference of opinion

  • Ev

    I’m all about the plot too, with preferably some heart-racing action thrown in. I found One Hundred Years of Solitude to be completely uncaptivating, most probably due to that reason. It doesn’t even have to be a complex plot either – I love Paulo Coelho’s books. Simple plot but complex themes.

  • jak

    I’m not sure why it’s a problem to be all about plot? Even people who allegedly get enjoyment out of literary ability disagree on what that really means, so isn’t it more important to enjoy a book, no matter what the reasons?

  • Chel

    Guess it’s not a problem to love a good plot as long as it’s well written… I’m not into plot so much I’m ready to get on the Dan Brown bandwagon! 🙂 But have read a few “classics” that have left me wondering… Love in the Time of Cholera, The Catcher in the Rye, even On the Road by Jack Kerouac.
    Ev, I completely agree about Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist especially holds a place as one of my all-time faves. Have either of you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak? One of the best reads I’ve had lately…

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