The Wallcreeper

I finished The Wallcreeper, sold to me alongside Mislaid, feeling a little disappointed, although the fault may have been more with me than the book.

The Wallcreeper had many of the elements that I would like – mention of a relatively obscure town near Seattle (Tukwila), vast amounts of information about something most people don’t care about (birdwatching, locks on the Danube and Elbe) and more of the verbal pyrotechnics displayed in Mislaid.

But although there was a plot, it felt so episodic that to summarise it would just be say "lots of things happened, one after the other". I reject the argument that this is true to life – I read fiction for entertainment. If I wanted to be persuaded that existence was merely a sequence of events without resolution or satisfying structure, I’d read the newspaper.

Secondly, the characters were both unsympathetic, and unentertaining. Either of these is acceptable in and of itself – one doesn’t like to read solely of wonderful, flawless people being nice all the time – but when they’re both vaguely unpleasant and uninteresting, that creates a greater barrier. Again, this is more because of who I am; I’m sure to another reader this either wouldn’t matter, or the characters would be more sympathetic.

Combine all these things, and it just resulted in a book that was very heavy going for me. I had to force myself to read it, unlike Mislaid, which I consumed without being able to stop myself. Ah well, not every one is a winner.

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