Should I stay or should I go?
19 August 2009
Well, the question is really "should I keep reading or should I stop?" but that's not nearly as catchy.
All summer long I have been trying to read Dan Simmons's behemoth novel Drood,* set in nineteenth-century London, and I can't quite get it done. Either I don't get it started and it goes overdue at the library, or it just sits around and stares at me balefully while I pick up other books instead. But this week I decided to tackle it; one of my very favorite readers suggested I read it, and I want to be able to tell her that I tried.
And now I have a problem. Although the first fifty pages were pretty slow, I'm now at around the 150-page mark and things are picking up a bit. It follows the rather macabre activities of authors and friends, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, as they chase down a shadowy creature named "Drood." (That's really about all of the story I've gotten so far.) So what's the problem?
The book is 775 pages long, that's the problem. I mean, really. Almost 800 pages? Do I really have the time or desire to devote 800 pages' worth of devotion to a book that I'm not really sold on, as of yet? Add that to the fact that I'm no Charles Dickens fan (although the novel is narrated by Wilkie, who is way more interesting than Dickens, mercifully) and I'm just not sure why I'm slogging through. What I'm feeling like doing is re-reading Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night (which was also long, but spectacular) and finding a good biography of Wilkie Collins instead.
So: what's the verdict? Anyone out there read this one? Should I keep going? Or cut and run?
*Shows how much I know: evidently Dickens's last (unfinished) book was titled The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Do I really have any business reading this book if that's how clueless I am about Dickens?