Saturday, February 05, 2005
I finally read
T. Jefferson Parker's California Girl. Something of a disappointment, I'd say. I couldn't get into it--I kept on picking it up and putting it back down and finally had to make an effort to finish it rather than just skipping to the end and seeing what happened. He's obviously a very skilled writer, and this Southern California setting (and the Vietnam and John Birch Society and Nixon and orange grove stuff) is compelling. Good feeling for families, brothers in particular. But my dislike for the novel's construction outweighed all of these things. There's a present-day frame that didn't seem to add enough to make it worth it, and it took forever for me to keep track of which brothers were which, and all in all it felt very draft-like to me, like an experiment with structure that should have been written out in the final version. He's a compelling writer, obviously, but he doesn't have the really sure feel for language that you see in (for example) Reed Farrel Coleman.