So… the book race. How's it coming along?
Well, after a slow start, Eleanor Catton is well out in front, with about fifty percent read. The first chapter takes up about half the book, weaving the twelve strands of story from different viewpoints into the central mystery (which I'm hoping will be resolved in the second half…) And now I've finally got a handle on what's actually going on, I am gripped.
Thomas Hardy, at the moment, is coming a rather poor second, with only about a third read. (I'm just up to the point where Bathsheba sends the valentine to Mr Boldwood.) It's possible that Far From the Madding Crowd is suffering because, having seen the film, I already know the story, so I'm not driven by pure narrative curiosity… but it's also undeniable that the meandering nineteenth century prose (two pages of description of snow!!) is trying my patience somewhat. Bathsheba Everdene is a terrific character, though, and I think Carey Mulligan was inspired casting.
I'll try to catch up a bit with FFTMC in the next couple of days… and the meaty melodramatic bits are still to come. I'll let you know how I get on.