Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde

Everything comes to an end.

Beginning with philosophical preamble is not creative. The opening line is followed up with these:

A good bottle of wine, a summer's day, a long-running sitcom, one's life, and eventually our species. The question for many of us is not that everything will come to an end but when.

Even though this opening touches on old age questions, it fails to hook. There are better books where death and the general end of things is discussed. The opening continues beating around the bush by breaking down the concept of wine, summers and sitcoms before we get to the end of the species by introducing an asteroid that might hit Earth - the first inkling of story-worthy conflict.

Below the title page is the subtitle: Now with 50% added subplot. I don't like the sounds of that. Subplot is nice and all, but I don't really like being made aware of it. Here it suggests that at least half this book is not about the main story conflict. Of course, it could be a joke, but dark humor does little to comfort me - in this case.

First thing said:

"I never thought I'd get a second."

Verdict: Fail

If there is any hook in this opening it is in the title. The title is unusual and raises some questions and makes the book sound like a fun read. Unfortunately, the opening paragraph contradicts that impression.

Theodore Moracht

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