Europa – DNF

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.

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  1. Sounds like a stinker – I’ll skip it.

    • Lenore on April 17, 2010 at 08:48

    I checked this out from the library once and didn’t get past page 20. Yuck.

    • lilly on April 17, 2010 at 09:36

    Aww, that sucks that you didn’t finish it. I thought it would be good. But then again, when you wrote that it was stream of consciousness, I knew I wouldn’t even start.

  2. I struggle with this too strange ,i have liked parks other books .i like caribou lovely dog ,warmest stu

    • Laura on April 17, 2010 at 11:50

    Wendy, thank you for allowing me to cross this one off my list!! Hope your next book is better.

  3. Good for you for giving a book the heave-ho when it is so clearly not working! Life is too short to be mired in miserable literature. Congrats for moving on!

    • Sandra on April 17, 2010 at 16:21

    Sorry to hear the book wasn’t enjoyable for you. I’m rarely disappointed by Booker shortlist titles, The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher being the only exception. Just boring and a slog to get through. Wish I had the courage to not finish a book sometimes. Oh well, plenty of titles left on the lists for you to try ( I usually like the longlist titles too). Always nice to read an honest opinion-it makes me want to read a few pages of the book just for fun.
    I didn’t see the Bookers on your challenge page so I’ll leave my link- I’ve starred all those I’ve read if you’re looking for recommendations.

  4. Thanks for the heads up…I’m sure this isn’t one that would’ve tempted me anyway! 😀

    • Amused on April 17, 2010 at 17:28

    Thanks for being honest – I always appreciate these reviews! I try to read as many Booker shortlisted books myself as I can and find that they run the gamut for me of total love to total confusion as and wondering how they made it on the list as well!

    • Alyce on April 17, 2010 at 17:47

    Thanks for the warning! I think it’s really difficult to write stream of consciousness well.

    • Amy on April 18, 2010 at 14:44

    I checked this out from the library once and didn’t get past page 20. Yuck.

    • Wendy on April 20, 2010 at 05:15

    Kathy: Well, I thought so!

    Lenore: Glad to know I am not alone!

    Lilly: I don’t like giving up on a book, but sometimes I just don’t want to waste my time…unfortunately this book just failed to capture me.

    Stu: I haven’t read anything else by Parks…glad to hear you liked his other work. Thanks for the compliments on Caribou – she was a one of a kind dog!

    Laura: I think you would HATE this book as I did – glad to help you skip one!

    Reader in the Wilderness: Thank you – so many times I suffer through a book I am not enjoying…it felt good to let this one go!

    Sandra: I hate not finishing a book…I usually like the Bookers too…oh well. To find the lists, select the tab for Reading Journals in my header. My lists for all the award winners can be found here on my blog. If you scroll down, you’ll see the Bookers and I’ve provided links to the reviews I’ve done there. I’m going over to check out your reviews now 🙂

    Staci: I would not normally have picked this up if my book club wasn’t reading it…oh well…

    Amused: Glad to know I am not alone! *laughs*

    Alyce: I don’t normally like stream of consciousness style in a novel – it grates on me!

    Amy: You and Lenore both!!!

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