For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I rarely do not finish a book. I typically struggle through and finish books, even if I am not loving them. But every now and then, I throw in the towel…and that is what happened with Europa by Tim Parks.
This novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997 which is how it made its way on to my stack of to-be-read books. I usually like the books which make the Booker lists – in fact some I love. Sometimes, however, I think the judges get it wrong. I was less than impressed with the 2009 winner which won despite the authors total disregard for the rules of grammar…although a couple of the 2009 short listed books were amazing (I’m thinking specifically of The Children’s Book and The Glass House). I don’t really understand how Europa managed to make it to the short list in 1997, but I suspect it was Parks’ unusual (albeit annoying ) style which consists of stream of consciousness, run-on, circuitous sentences.
Europa is a novel about Jerry Marlow who is traveling by train from Milan to Strasbourg and reflecting on his less than satisfactory life. Marlow is rather misogynistic, as well as arrogant – and it is this, along with his drawn out reflections, which eventually got me to toss the book aside. I just didn’t like Jerry. Not at all. And I got tired of his “voice” and his endless, circular thoughts.
My final thoughts – don’t waste your time.