Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: "The Woman Who Lost Her Soul" by Bob Shacochis

Of this year's Pulitzer Prize nominees, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis is clearly the worst one, and that is not just because of how good the other two books are. Both The Goldfinch and The Son are easily two of the best books to come out in this new decade, with The Goldfinch walking away with the award. This long 713-page book had tough company, but even if the books were of slightly lesser quality, this book would still not be in the running to win such a major prize. For most books that are this long, I can at least pinpoint the main idea that is the driving force of the novel, even when I do not like it or agree with it. But in this book, I was confused all the way through when I wasn’t being flooded by sentences as badly worded as any I have come across recently. The plot is cool though, telling the story of Tom Harrington, a lawyer who feels the need to make humanitarian efforts to help out the country of Haiti. With the help of his associate Conrad Dolan, he goes to down to investigate a murder that Dolan is also investigating and finds himself thrust back in time to his memories of photojournalist Jackie Scott, whose Tom’s obsession with being eclipsed only by her lack of conscious. This book is all over the place, with large sections in German occupied Croatia in the 1940’s and Turkey in the 1980’s, with each section poorly channeling better stories by better writers, such as Roberto Bolano and James Ellroy. It’s okay at first, the first section and the section in Croatia being really good, but after that, the reader is left with 500 long pages to make sense out of everything, with a few funny sequences not being enough to make it bearable. While not the worst book I have read, even this year, it didn’t deserve to be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Rating: 3/5

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