Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book 83: A Ship Made of Paper

A Ship Made of Paper by Scott Spencer

I didn't really like this book that much. I was more than happy to put it down temporarily to read The Secret Speech. The novel's protagonist is Daniel Emerson who is slightly obsessed with Iris Davenport. Daniel is practically married to Kate, and Iris is married though her husband lives in the city (New York). Kate's daughter, Ruby, and Iris's son, Nelson, are in the same preschool class, and it is there that Daniel usually interacts with her.

After a storm, Daniel is stuck at Iris's house, and they begin an affair. None of the characters are really that likable - I felt like Daniel was just kind of stupid. Spencer also tries to add complications to his novel with race - Daniel is white while Iris is black but I'm not sure how effective it was. In fact, since this novel takes place in the early '90s, Kate is obsessed with the O.J. Simpson trial throughout, and there is also a rather stupid plot point about some black kids that escaped from a juvenile correctional facility during the storm. I'm sure it's meant to show the racism of all the people in the area, but it just seemed obnoxious after a certain point.

I'm not even sure if I believed Daniel's declarations that he was in love with Iris - I felt like maybe Kate was correct in asserting that part of the reason Daniel was attracted to her was because he felt like her race was exotic or something. Furthermore, I just didn't see the two of them having a future together - Daniel glorified Iris too much and it didn't seem like he even knew her that well when his obsession began. Iris, on the other hand, doesn't seem all too capable of making any final decisions, her constantly changing thesis topic simply being an example. Of course, Kate and Iris's husband Hampton don't come off as too sympathetic either. I really just wanted Spencer to come up with a solution and end this whole mess.

No comments: