Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Orange 2012: The blue book (A.L. Kennedy)

I approached The blue book with no little trepidation, as I thought it was probably among the most literary of the orange longlist. I have not read any books by Kennedy previously, but know of her as a very post-modern writer which is something that I am a little bit wary of (having never quite grasped post-modernism when forced to study it as part of a historical methods course in my final year at university (I decided to teach myself how to answer questions on the feminist approach instead, much to my tutor's horror) (he obviously was involved in the writing of the paper as post modernism came up, but feminism didn't despite the fact that the latter was a huge topic and had been in every past paper for ten years) (I digress.)

The book is set on a cruise ship. Elizabeth Barber is on a journey from London to New York with her boyfriend. It seems she is actually fleeing the UK where she has been a fake medium

So that's the story on the surface. So far, straightforward. But it's postmodern as I said. So, the story is told through a number of different styles of narrations and the blurb itself says "What's more, is the book itself - a fiction which may not always be lying - deceiving the reader?" This made me worry a bit about the book because I am only really capable of reading a straightforward sorry.

If you're cleverer than me and want reading that will challenge you, then read this. If you're stupid like me, and like reading to relax into, then don't. Also, if like me you find the colour blue depressing, I wouldn't pick it up, the book itself is VERY blue with blue edgings to the page which match the unwrappered hardback. It's certainly striking.


  1. I have read some of her short stories and quite liked them.
    With this book I I did feel like she was being too clever for her own good with the numbers thing, not sure they added anything and it was showing off. I did struggle with this book in places and I felt it was overwritten particularly the beginning but I did persist and I found the ending very moving. I actually loved the physical appearance of the book.
    i wouldn't be surprised if this wins;so far my money is on this.

  2. I had a very similar reaction to you - this book was far too much like hard work.

  3. Eeek!!! Just got this from the library & am now scared! However, blue is my favourite colour so, perhaps, there's hope?


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