Title: Elysiana
Chris Knopf
Pub Date: May 2010
Pages: 301
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical
Challenges: New Author
Disclosure: received from LT's Early Review

Elysiana was marketed as a postmodern novel centering around an eccentric group of individuals located on the coastal shores of New Jersey in the late 60's. Obviously, between that one liner and the cover, I was intrigued.

So what of it? I'm having mega trouble reviewing this one because overall I wasn't impressed, but . . .

. . . there's always a *BUT* isn't there?

First things first. I've never read anything by Knopf, but from what I've seen in the netosphere, he's a mystery writer by trade and Elysiana is a new thing for him. I'm wondering how he is as a mystery writer, because one of the major downfalls of this book is Knopf is so damn verbose. Seriously. Not as bad as, let's say, John Milton and his essays *BUT* had he lived in that time period, he might have grown to be competition. I curious if he is as wordy is his mysteries.

Second thing second. I almost stopped reading this book on four different occasions. (Including one time where I was a mere fifty pages from completing it). I'm not really big into book abandonment, although I should be because there are so many other books out there. I am sure others out there who have learned the fine art of not feeling guilt over chucking a book would have simply closed it halfway.

So what's it about anyway, you might be asking? Okay, let's see. You have a handful of people who are hanging out on the coast and their lives all end up intermingling: the coastal squad and police force, the drug trafficking lords, the wives and lovers of the coastal squad, police force, and drug lords. It's all very messy and there is loads of political deceit going on. Really. It's a tedious soap opera and generally speaking, the plot and character were lacking.

Was there anything redeeming? Surprisingly, yes. Which is why I pressed on. There are three characters who I thoroughly enjoyed. Jack, coast guard-slash-recluse who lives in a humongous hotel by himself after losing a portion of his brain in a surgery as a child has a unique story and I wish the author developed it more. Gwendalyn, who we first meet in the back seat of a car, riding cross country with strangers to Elysiana and completely strung out. Now Gwendalyn had a story to her and it obviously involves some wrecked childhood. And finally, seven year old Sweetie (for real name!) who was such a minor character but had so much personality she filled up the page. Because of these three characters, I persevered.

Overall? I didn't care too much about anyone or anything.

1 comment:

  1. Well that's always a bummer, especially if you've put in that much time an effort.


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