Friday, April 08, 2005

On snichols' bedside table

Today we launch a new segment entitled "on snichols' bedside table" in which we get to find out what snichols thinks of various books as she is reading them--this is crucial since it could take her years to finish any of the books she is reading.

Today, snichols finds herself giving (:)(:)(:) three snouts up to The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. Given to her ages ago by her mother-in-law, snichols finds herself reading it and more other novels now. It is a compelling story of a 40 year old tuner of Erard pianos who is called upon to journey from London to the furthest reaches of Burma in the late 19th century to tune the piano of a military legend. With echoes of EM Forster's A Passage to India, it is often unclear, at least to the piano tuner, what is real and what is not.

The only factor keeping snichols from awarding a 4th (and highest) upturned snout to the novel in progress is that she finds the voices and descriptions in the book to be jarringly 21st century. Words are spoken by the characters that it seems to snichols absolutely wouldn't have been said even remotely that way in the late 19th century. Every author injects the perspective of their own time into every book but in this case the perspective/voice of 110 years later is repeatedly distracting.

And yes, snichols knows exactly what was going on inside the heads of late 19th century piano tuners, please do not ask how?

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