Monday, August 9, 2010


"Language lovers who are not faint of heart won't want to miss this one."

This is a quote from the book jacket of William Gay's Twilight. Apparently, I am not that kind of language lover (and no, I didn't get it confused with the Stephenie Meyer book of the same title).

I picked up the novel based on the description offered in a recent edition of my local library's "Thrillers & Suspense" e-newsletter: "a resplendently dark Southern Gothic thriller," it gushed.

Dark, yes. Southern, yes. Thriller? Well, I was less than thrilled.

I pride myself on finishing what I start, at least when it comes to reading, but I just couldn't get through this one. I returned it unfinished today because I couldn't bear the thought of incurring fines for a book I wasn't even remotely enjoying.

Among my many issues:
  • Gay doesn't use quotation marks to set off his characters' speech, which makes differentiating dialog from description challenging--especially in light of the following issue.
  • I couldn't keep myself from editing his writing. Run-on sentences, commas in odd places (when he used them at all) was kind of like reading stream of consciousness writing, if the writer had ADHD. I had to read some passages two or three times before I could make sense of them. He's won awards for his writing, so I guess somebody sees merit in it--but yeesh.
  • The book is written in third person, with the exception of one early chapter written in first person...I have no idea who the narrator of that chapter is, despite the fact that I made it two-thirds of the way through the book before abandoning it.
My last reason for not liking this book has nothing to do with the writing itself. In fact, it's a horrible reason, but I'm going to share it anyway: the photo of Gay on the book jacket is scary. He looks like a backwoods psychopath. Do I expect all authors to be attractive? No, of course not...but at least wash your hair for your author photo...


Momo Fali said...

I have to Google him now, but I'm kind of scared to do it before I go to bed.

Momo Fali said...

Egads! *Shudders*

I couldn't resist, but I wish I had.