I have a huge stack of ‘currently reading’ books, and my Farmville obsession is not helping diminish the stack much. Still, my ‘not really reading’ phases are not the same as actually not reading. It just means I finish fewer than 7 books per week.
Right now I am halfway through a new novel by Joe Meno, Marvel and a Wonder.
This book stars a white mare that is mistakenly sent to an old rural Indiana chicken farmer. The farmer and his grandson live in a small and shrinking rural community where their neighbors are moving away and most of the local businesses are already gone. It is hard to imagine something new and exciting to appear in this bleak setting, yet the horse is real, and however it got there, it seems to be there to stay. But, of course, the horse creates ripples in the lives of its new people that are destined to change their lives in unexpected ways.
I am not really fond of horses, and would be really annoyed if I suddenly had a horse delivered to my house when I was already struggling to make ends meet. Horses are expensive to feed and maintain, after all. Still, I could see why the chicken farmer likes having the horse. My biggest gripe so far with this book is not the horse, but the writing style. Much of the story is told in normal prose style, with correct grammar, but every so often the author shifts to what I am guessing is his take on stream of consciousness storytelling, a string of fragments that are more poetry than prose and suggest rather than tell the story. Sometimes this works, especially in dialogue where the character speaking might actually use such a style, but so far in this novel I find these poetic interludes obnoxious and distracting. There are also passages set off from the rest of the text that are clearly meant to be poetic word images, strings of billboards and other text bits that almost work, even for me. if they were set in a different font, perhaps, or if the other, annoying fragmentary sections were less common or less extreme. *grumble grumble grumble* But, I am resisting pulling out my collection of red pens from my TA days, so far.
Books you might like if you like Marvel and a Wonder: Dandelion Wine (Ray Bradbury), The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver), A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)