Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Book of Common Prayer

I still haven't made up my mind whether I like Joan Didion's writing. I've loved a couple of essays she wrote. I read The Year of Magical Thinking and it suffered in comparison to Calvin Trillin's About Alice which I read in close proximity to it and was a much more personal, affecting book. I just read A Book of Common Prayer, the story of two women in the fictitious South American country of Boca Grande. Grace, the narrator, is a widow in one of the controlling families of the country. Charlotte travels there after her daughter commits a terrorist act in the United States. Grace tries to piece together Charlotte's story. I admired a lot of the writing and Didion has a very distinctive voice. However, I feel some of the power of the writing was undermined by the excessive use of some of the techniques I first admired. It's all a little too much for me. I found the story to be interesting and found myself wanting to figure Charlotte out along with Grace.

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