I've not yet begun David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet because, frankly, I'm worried I won't like it. I've liked everything Mitchell has ever written (and that's not just because I'm a crazy Mitchell fangirl), but I've also liked everything Vendela Vida has ever written. Until now.
Which is why I'm worried about Mitchell's latest.
I wanted to love The Lovers in the way that I loved Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. But I didn't love The Lovers. I didn't even like it. There were a few sections where I was into the world Vida created, rooting for the characters. So there's that. Yet upon finishing the book I thought, so what? What was the point of all this? I felt nothing but a vague sense of how many ways this book could have been amazing and wasn't. What also nearly broke my heart was that the gorgeously taut language and precision-prose I've come to love Vida for were nearly absent from this book.
You know me. I rarely write about books I don't like because, what's the point? There are plenty of people paid terrible wages that are happy to slam book after book. It's not really my ilk and as goody two-shoes as it seems, I'd rather focus my time (and your attention) on books that I loved because every book and every good writer needs as much love as they can get in these tumultuous-for-books times.
So why am I bashing a not-liked book of a much-loved writer? Because it got me thinking. We all have books we wanted to love but didn't. We all follow every move of much-loved writers even though their last book (or three) left us wanting, confused, or just plain meh. What is that book for you? That book you wanted so much to love but with every page began to realize you weren't loving it and were, perhaps, hating it?
Here's to hoping that The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet isn't another one of those for me.