Friday, October 06, 2006

The Divide. Nicholas Evans,
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2005

Nicholas Evans is the author of the bestseller "The Horse Whisperer", turned later into a not so bestselling film of the same name. I could not make myself see the film or read the book because I find the idea of a horse-shrink preposterous. Choosing to read "The Divide" is not a nod to popular literature - it was prompted by a need to find out why this author is so popular. I remembered an reader's comment about the style of the first book, which had made me laugh: "An example of (Evans') bad writing? --"And he felt no shame nor saw any in her, for why should they feel shame at what was not of their making but of some deeper force that stirred not just their bodies but their souls and knew naught of shame nor of any such construct?" I could not find anything that funny in the fourth book of Evans, but still the prose is second rate. It patches together descriptions of natural beauties (so cliche that they can't turn into anything visual or stir an emotion) and a very dumbed-down version of a "psychology of marriage" or "coming of age psychology". I can't deny the author the intelligence of plotting - he kept me reading till the end. He has tapped the great source of popular yarn - the existential fears of female readers: the first one being the fear for the wellbeing of their children, the second one - that they will be abandoned by their husbands for not being passionately responsive to their sexual demands. And indeed, the main female character looses her daughter and her husband to cause fear and trembling in the weak sex.
The title of the novel is such a transparent metaphor, still I have to admit that picking up the novel from the bookshelf has to do with the title as well - the "Divide"....Who would not want to read about what divides people, families, lovers, etc. And again, the characters are very cliche - for example the two women - the one that is abandoned and the seducing one. The first one is a bookstore manager, who wears cream v-neck sweaters and white shirts, the second one is a turban and green dress wearing painter, who is also into yoga and finding her inner self (or something like that).
The second half of the novel dedicated to the eco-terrorist plot line totally lost me. The Patty Hearst story can definitely generate more profound literature but in Evans' case it did not.


Post a Comment

<< Home