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Calliope

The Poison That Fascinates - General Discussion

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I too read this when i first received it but then suffered a major crash and was without a pc for over 3 months and then I have procrastinated over writing a review. thanks for the reminder, David.

 

 

I have very mixed feelings about the book I have kept it and will probably re read it to see if things become clearer.

I must confess to finding the murder reports a bit of an intrusion into the flow of the narrative and whilst I realise they were important I didn't enjoy them and tended to scan rather than read thoroughly.

 

Santi I found a strange and slightly repellent character. I found it difficult to understand how easily he was accepted into the family and especially how intense his relationship with Emily became so quickly. The stalking that he did first also struck me as extremely creepy.

 

I seem to recall almost giving up several times as I found the narrative to be lacking in pace, however I put this down to an evocation of the place as much as anything else and persevered. Like brightphoebus I felt it to be tedious at times.

 

I don't think I actually liked any of the characters and didn't feel they were particuarly well characterised. consequently I didn't really care what happened to them. in a way they were all dysfunctional (horrible word) and where this should have made them interesting it just made them seem remote and alien to me. Not a book I would recommend to many people but one I will revisit to see whether a second reading reveals something different to me.

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I must confess to finding the murder reports a bit of an intrusion into the flow of the narrative.

Whilst I did mostly enjoy them there was that exact downside. Since I wasn't finding it easy to engage with the characters it felt a little frustrating sometimes that as I felt on the verge of connecting more significantly suddenly I was wrenched out for another murder piece. That said, in a way I suppose it was taking us into Emily's mind since that was her fascination, but perhaps it didn't always come across in that way.

 

Santi I found a strange and slightly repellent character.

Very much so!

 

I found it difficult to understand how easily he was accepted into the family

It felt jarring, but I suppose it made sense in terms of Emily's father being concerned with lost things, in particular, of course, his wife, so I can see how that could come about. It was his remaining hidden yet having the run of the house that I struggled with.

 

I seem to recall almost giving up several times as I found the narrative to be lacking in pace, however I put this down to an evocation of the place as much as anything else and persevered.

It was slow, yes, though I think you're right, the narrative is trying to do something else and building up a poetic quality that I think bestows a fable-like quality to the story.

 

I don't think I actually liked any of the characters and didn't feel they were particuarly well characterised. consequently I didn't really care what happened to them. in a way they were all dysfunctional (horrible word) and where this should have made them interesting it just made them seem remote and alien to me.

That's my biggest problem, I think. A great idea and beautifully written in places, but whether you love or hate a character, you need to feel something for them, and they didn't feel firmly enough fleshed out for that to happen. They were slightly identikit characters, there to fulfil various purposes but failing to inhabit our consciousness. Santi did at least engender more reaction, but I didn't find his character consistent or fully credible in terms of his behaviour.

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