Sep 24, 2010

A Book Abandoned - Bernard Cornwall's Rebel

Must finish book
I don't like not finishing a book.  I don't know if this is the result of good reading habits instilled at a young age or something peculiar to me.  The same goes for movies - I must finish the story unless it is spectacularly bad or boring.

So it is with a heavy heart that I abandoned  Rebel by Bernard Cornwell.  I had heard rave reviews about some of his other historical fictions but Rebel, a civil war story set in America lost any hold it had on me after 100 pages.

Niggling idiosyncrasies 
I wonder if it was one, or two of the small things that put me off. I small quirk of Cornwell's writing that got under my skin and began the rot of dissatisfaction.

The first thing that I noticed was Cornwell's habit of specifically naming places.  It was as if he was pointing out that he had done his research, he could tell you want particular business was on that particular street, at that time in history.  Perhaps I am being unfair, but the level of detail annoyed me and didn't, I think, contribute to the story.

Another niggle was his reference to "the Negro Teamster" why for the life of me he couldn't refer to him as the black teamster.  The book was written in the late 1990's.  Was Cornwell again trying to evoke a certain flavour?

In any case it was a thorn in my side.

Action then boredom
The book started well enough.  The protagonist is caught be a mob and is about to be tarred and feathered.  He is rescued in the nick of time but the reader is not.  No, we are left to watch the rest of the story unfold, slowly.

Have you abandoned any books? What were the reasons?


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