Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Library of Unrequited Love: a book of unrequited potential

This is an interesting concept - a brief novella which is purely and simply a diatribe from a downtrodden but ultimately rebellious librarian. It's a brave book therefore, but it's let down by the sheer lack of paragraphs and the sense of well-trodden cliche that hovers over the first half to three-quarters of the story.

The lack of paragraphs gave me a feeling of being trapped inside the book - which is of course the feeling the librarian in her library room has, but even she pauses to pursue other trains of thought. Paragraphs at those sections would have been useful to the reader.

The cliche of course is obvious: a love-sick librarian with a secret passion for an unobtainable student and with a series of deep-set grudges to reveal, and there were times when the cliche was simply overwhelming and I thought about giving up. Even in a book of a mere 92 pages. However, the last five or six pages are simply brilliant and well worth ploughing through the first 80 or so to get there - the ending is a tour de force of surreal and bitter brilliance, and I only wish this sort of writing had started a lot earlier on.

Verdict: Interesting but could have been better (3 stars)

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