Friday, 6 June 2014

A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride

"Now I'm no' saying he's gay - I'm no' saying he's ho-mo-sexual - I'm saying he's a big Jesse.'

Beginning with dialogue is always a risky business. It'd better be something engaging as most people are not interested in listening in on strangers because listening in on random blabbering is never as much fun as it is to blabber. Overall, this line reveals a little about a character, but I'm really reaching for something nice to say when I say this. Even though this is not gay-bashing per say, it is somewhat tired, overused and worn out. It just doesn't have the conflict punch it once had in the 1950's.

Then the next character says:

"Not this again..."

Then we get some epic purple prosy descriptive writing, the kind writers write when they were in high school and think they are in love for the first time. I'm speculating, but this is the kind of writing that might be the result of love coupled with teenage angst or of overactive hormones and lack of experience, or a combination of all of the above if it's really bad. This is really bad. We are still on page 1. Take a look:

A crescent moon makes a scar in the clouds, glowering down at them as Kevin picks his way through the frost-crisped grass, breath streaming out behind him. Nipples like little points of fire. Fingers aching where they stick out past the end of his sleeve, wrapped around the torch. The legs of his glasses cold against his temples.

Looks like someone is making a run for the Man Booker! There's more, but you get the idea.

Kevin might want to get those obtrusive man-nipples examined, and perhaps surgically removed. The disembodied body mimicking subjects of sentences sounds pretentious, acting as if they have minds of their own: breath streaming, nipples pointing, fingers aching, legs cold - well that last one maybe not; they're not human legs anyway, only optometric legs. This prosy stinks about as bad as those stale air fresheners in twenty-year-old cars driven on a rainy day by overweight, sweaty men with gastronomic problems.

I hope this author is merely trying to impress an assistant editor with an overwritten opening, because I don't think I could stomach 500+ pages of this crapola.

Verdict: Epic Fail

Rudy Globird

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