Wednesday, 12 December 2012

118/111 - The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

I bought this book at the same time as The Age of Miracles and I had pretty high hopes for it, too. I should have followed my own rule however, and read the first 30 pages on iBooks, because if I had, I would never have bought this awful awful book.

This book actually has a lot of potential to be great, and the idea seems really interesting, but for me, the main thing that makes it totally unreadable and totally enrages me is the fact that it's written in a Scottish dialect. The result is that it ends up feeling like dogshit when I'm trying to enjoy it, because I keep stumbling upon a few sentences of passable English before getting to 'cannae' and 'umnay' and 'disnae' and GO FUCK YOURSELF.

This has enraged me so much that I don't know that I'll be able to carry on with the book.

I was trying to think earlier about what it is that pisses me off so much about this, because it shouldn't, really, however I think I hate the fact that it's so forceful and jarring. Maybe that's supposed to be the point, however I like to think that I can get into the mindset of the characters without it being shoved in my face that OMG SHE HAS A SCOTTISH ACCENT. IT'S SET IN SCOTLAND! Is that honestly the best way you can think to convey that the story is set in Scotland and the characters are Scottish? Do you seriously have to interrupt every sentence with a contraction in it to add in a little Scottish slang that causes me to trip over the entire sentence? To the point where I can't bear to read the rest of the book?

Dreadful. Just thinking about it is pissing me off, because I take no pleasure in slagging off a book, especially not one that I have paid for and had hoped to enjoy. Totally ruined it for me. The only thing I wanted to do was to 'CTRL+F' every contraction and 'replace all' with the proper word.

Maybe I'm being a bit intolerant. Is this distracting for Scottish readers? Or is it just me? To me, this felt like a cheap attempt to make the book more interesting, or to make the character seem more different, however for me part of the enjoyment I get from reading a book is the fact that I can immerse myself in the story, get lost and let it wash over me until I don't even remember I'm reading, or that I can't bear to stop myself because I'm so engrossed.

A book like this, told in 'dialect' (I'm using that word loosely because the rest of the English is flawless, which only draws attention more to the Scottish words) makes me more aware that I'm reading as I am continually tripping up on every other word, and so it totally fails at its job, which is to entertain me and hopefully engage my thoughts. I think I'll be returning it.

1 comment:

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