Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Review: "The Shore" by Sara Taylor
Sara Taylor’s debut novel The Shore shares a lot in common with David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, a book that is namedropped on one of the blurbs on the back of the book. It is a multi-generational, semi spiritual kind of epic based around one community on the shores of New England. I find Cloud Atlas, personally, to be a literary stunt with no real emotional merit. And I am disappointed to say that this novel is even below that, presenting a boring set of circumstances with flimsy characters and writing that really shows the writer’s faults and lack of experience. Taylor does get an A for ambition, with her attempt to pack as much mythology, ideas and tropes into the slim 303 page length, but then again, that really just adds to this books many, many faults, which made for an, I hate to say this about anything, an excruciating reading experience. The novel really focuses on the lives of people living on a group of islands just outside of the Chesapeake Bay area near Virginia. The novel shifts time periods quite frequently, going as far back as the 1800’s and going as far as 100 plus years into the future, in a scene that steals an alarming amount from a very similar section in Cloud Atlas. But it mainly focuses on a family throughout the mid half of the twentieth century, in which two of the sisters have the most fascinating section in the beginning, which is kind of quality murder investigation, even if the twist can be seen from miles away. Sadly, none of the other sections fare any better, even with the inclusion of a rape scene, that will you emotionally empty instead of repulsed. I don’t want to count Taylor out as a writer, but this book doesn’t leave the reader with a very good impression.