Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pondering the parvenu

By Tracy

So I finished Piers Paul Read's The Upstart, and while it was mostly compelling, the wrap-up was ridiculous, perhaps deliberate bathos.

I won't go into it here, in order to avoid spoilers. But the story was "resolved" in a way that only a religious writer who wanted to get his "moral" in could do it.

Now I'm aware that he built in lots of ironies so as not to make it too pat; that the dénouement is more than half tongue-in-cheek. But it's also not, and you can't have it both ways.

In sum, I expected something more outlandish from a mostly outlandish book. The challenge, for the writer, was always going to be in the ending. You could argue that the "happy outcome" is the very anguish, is the punishment, that the protagonist deserves. But that's too easy. The book is unforgettable yet doesn't satisfy.

Saying more would ruin the experience for anyone who hasn't read it yet...

No comments: