Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Thursday, 2 December 2004

"Damage" by Josephine Hart (Chatto and Windus, 1991)

I can't side with Rendell, Ted Hughes, Jong or Murdoch regarding this book. A predictable plot or inexorable fate? Melodrama opens up such a wide spectrum of emotional possibilities to explore that by the law of probability there are bound to be some good sound-bites - "Our sanity depends essentially on a narrowness of vision" ... "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive" - but we have to wade through stuff like p.45-46 as well. For me the melodrama was propelled by kludgy plotting and avoidance of difficult scenes. The main character wondered how Martyn knew where the flat was. He should have been paying attention because big hints had just been dropped. Obsessed he may be, but surely he can still put 2 and 2 together as well as readers can. The dialogue and some of the characterisation is ok though. Perhaps in a very different setting I might have liked more of the writing.

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