Saturday, 2 August 2014

Seven Houses - #52

Image sourced from here
You know when you find a book with a really interesting premise. One that makes you think, if this works it could be great, but if not... Yeah... This book is the example of it not working.

This book is a family saga over roughly 100 years in Turkey. It follows the grandmother, through to the granddaughter, but looking at everyone in between and beyond. What it tries to do is to tell the story through the eyes of the houses. Which would be interesting, if it did it. Or was consistent. It was neither. It would be thrown in sometimes at the beginning of the chapter if it was remembered. Otherwise it carried on as an omnipotent narrator, but threw the building card in now and then. And then ignored it completely and discussed things there was no fricking way a building a couple of kilometres back could observe. It was haphazard, sloppy and badly executed.

Also, as I am pedant and such. There were 5 houses. Not seven. We went back to two.

Maybe, if the characters were interesting it would be forgivable that you forgot the premise you named your book after. Beauty Queens are not interesting to me though. Sorry. I maybe a failure to my gender, but primping and preening to be beautiful is fucking boring and a waste of my time in real life, let alone reading it for a while. Even if it is one small part of the story, boring, snoring, doring...

Also, maybe I had a really sheltered childhood. I mean, I had brothers, and boys on the street I played with every day, but we never had the need to show each other our bits every five seconds. I am sure we did and went, well that's odd, and moved on. What is with the overt sexualisation of children in every second book I read? I understand that teenagehood is a western construct. I understand there is a thin line between kids and adults in many cultures. I understand that a lot of kids in many cultures around the world live in the same room as their parents sex life.

But what is the need for any book not written in a western or Anglo background for sexualising children in the first few pages? Is it to shock me into another culture? Coz cheers, got that, not completely fucking stupid. Is it something I was incredibly sheltered from? Was everyone else as children humping anything that walked along? If so, I stand corrected. Or was she trying to make a point about a repressed sexual society? I don't know, but it grated me (obviously) whatever she was planning. And this is not about the obvious child sexual abuse case. This annoyed me before that story, at least that was explainable and understandable.

As a family saga, it wasn't horrible. It interested me a little in what was going on, and the family at large. I assume it gave me some insight into Turkish society, or probably more accurately, a Turkish diaspora's or immigrant to another country's opinion of Turkey. Overall a big Meh from me. It wasn't terrible, but if it wasn't for the challenge I read it for, I wouldn't have finished it.

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