Posted by: Ele Quigan | June 23, 2012

‘Pure’ Andrew Miller

I usually love books about Paris. This dirty great city in all its gloriousness is at all times intriguing, a full underbelly of interesting characters, various places of historial reference beyond the great art that is at the Louvre, and of course home to home to my favourite era in one of my most re-read novels as a youngster – Interview with the Vampire.

Given my inherent cynicism to the Twilight series, I still remain attached to the ideal that Anne Rice put into my head of this romantic bunch of flopsy haired Brad Pitt/Tom Cruise/Antonio Banderas’ who lived beneath the streets of Paris, only rising at night.

So with this background, any book on Paris will be judged against this darkness, horror, and squeamishly good fun novels that I spent most of my early teenage years with.

So this? With the destruction of a cemetery, had potential! What a luscious background! What darkness! Let’s burn a church down, and cause attempted murder! But why does this book fall down? It felt well structured. The writing wasn’t too bad – I just found it so incredibly formulaic and boring. It was at times fluffy and overblown. Things would happen that felt expected, almost as if this was written in creative writing class, where you learn how to place each anti-climax and final resolution.

The characters felt top level and simple. Sure, the book was relatively short – not enough time for true character planning and surprises. With a slightly unusual name, I always find it bizarre reading my name in novels – which at turn pissed me off as this insipid prostitute floated about at the edges of the novel, not really adding anything new/interesting to the story.

So in a nutshell, this is one of the least liked books in a really long time. I persevered, telling myself that I just had to finish it (I can’t stand not finishing books, yes I’m still looking at you ‘War & Peace’ that I’ve still never been able to finish in the last 15 years) so I could move on to reading something else.


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