Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How could you do this to me?

Book: The Love Eaters/The Kiss of Kin dual edition

Author: Mary Lee Settle

Published: 1954 and 1955 Harpers (original editions), 1995 University of South Carolina Press (dual edition)

Pages: 204 and 184, respectively (numbered separate in the volume)
These are technically two separate novels, but they both evoked the same dismal reaction out of me by both being about groups of people brought together by one event (a community play and a will reading), both throwing in one character with surprising secret relation to another (both are bastard sons who just came of age) who don’t actually stir the action any more than it would’ve boiled over if they weren’t there at all, and both being dialogue-heavy when all both of them boil down to is “HOW COULD YOU?” 

That is seriously all anyone says. These are the first two stories I’ve ever read that focuses on showing relationships between characters without getting into the characters themselves, like, at all. I had no idea that was possible to write. The author started out as a playwright, which reveals a reason for all this but doesn’t excuse it.
Both stories revolve relentlessly around the screechy, shallow aspects of human nature that I read to forget about, so I hated this book. It just reminded me how horrible people are when sexual and professional and inherited jealousy get the best of them. If I wanted 185 pages about that, I could just subscribe to Cosmo.

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