I Write It and Then Just Throw It Away

I have been reading Let the Great World Spin (by Colum McCann) for about forever.  Normally by now I would be done a book, no matter the font size and page count, or have given up on it.  Just when I am about to do the latter with Great World, I decide to give it one last shot and find myself engaged.  Just not engaged enough to want to immediately pick it up the next time a reading opportunity presents itself (there is always The Economist that needs to be read).  This left me wondering how the book manages to walk that balance beam of neutrality (not an enviable place to be, but better than falling off (I note that it won the National Book Award (US) and the Dublin Literary Award so obviously many don`t agree with my assessment)).  My first thought was “too many new characters popping up all the time“, but I don`t normally mind that.  I think it may be one of those things that the writing books recommend against but new people often pop into people`s lives in meaningful ways, so why not in books?  Then I realized that`s not that McCann regularly introduces whole new lives, it`s that he gets rid of the ones you were just getting to know and like when he does so.  All that effort on the writer`s part to get the reader interested in a character only to discard them.  It seems so wasteful.

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