steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Books I Ought to Like But Somehow Don't

It's odd. I've heard Jan Mark's They Do Things Differently There recommended quite a few times, and in theory it's the sort of book I should really go for. It's clever, linguistically inventive, and uses many of the tropes I'm fond of and in some cases have even used myself: the make-believe game that may not be make-believe (Fire and Hemlock, Albion's Dream, etc.); the two realities overlaid one on the other (The Fetch of Mardy Watt, etc.); the intense relationship where the narrator is the follower of a more brilliant and charismatic friend (The Tulip Touch, etc.). If I didn't know for a fact that I'd never read it, I'd have assumed that it was one of my Big Influential Books. It even repeatedly uses a phrase, about the fabric of the world having rubbed thin, that I used a few years later in Calypso Dreaming. (This is the kind of thing that makes me more sceptical than some about studies of literary influence.)

Yet I'm bouncing off it, hard. It's barely 200 pages, but halfway through I'm thinking of giving up. I'm not sure why, though, and that will probably keep me reading - if not for pleasure, then in a quest for the source of my distaste. With luck, pleasure will creep back in like sneak thief.
Tags: books
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