Friday, August 28, 2009

Book 98: Edinburgh

I ordered this based on a recommendation from a book blog (can't remember which one).  It took me a little while to adjust to the style since especially in the beginning, the narrator has a tendency to talk around things.  The first two sections are narrated by Fee, a man that was part of an all boys choir as a child and was sexually molested along with a large number of other boys in the choir.  He was in love with one of the boys, who ended up killing himself sometime after the choir leader was imprisoned for his actions.  This part of the novel follows Fee through the time of the abuse, and his college years during which he is still dealing with a lot of the issues.  He blames himself for what happened, partially because he feels like he should have warned Peter.  He has quite a bit of self-loathing at this point.
The third section switches to Warden's perspective.  I felt like his voice was much clearer and more linearly written, and also preferred this section.  At this point, we see Fee from Warden's perspective since Fee is at his school as the temporary swim coach and art teacher.  The reader also knows very early that Warden is a nickname, and the boy is actually the son of the man that molested Fee.  The final section is once again told from Fee's perspective and he talks about his life between college and getting to the school, and then moves on to his perspective of things.  Fee has somehow moved on from his past, and at first, I was happy with how his life had turned out after everything.  Except then he started doing things to screw everything up, which pissed me off.
I admit part of the reason I was excited about this novel was the title - Edinburgh.  For some reason, I assumed it might be set in Edinburgh or that parts of the novel would occur since when I read the back cover, it did say that Fee was half Korean, half American and the choir was states-side.  Unfortunately, the novel was mainly set in Maine.  No Scotland.  The title comes from a part time job that Fee takes for a man who is writing book about Edinburgh during the plague.  Part of that book involves a piece on tunnels, and the idea of tunnels appeals to Fee (okay, it was a little deeper than that, and he built himself his own tunnel, but I managed to accidentally leave my copy of the book on the plane).
A few places have talked about how beautiful the writing in this novel is - while I enjoy beautifully written pieces and passages, I also sometimes get bored or irritated with things that are too descriptive or spiritual seeming.  In this case, the writing didn't really do that much for me, but it's been a major selling point for others, so perhaps it would appeal more to others than it did to me.

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