Thursday, December 2, 2010

Book review: The Echo Maker

I wanted to like this book. It's a Pulitzer Prize finalist, for heaven's sake! But I didn't. Maybe that means my taste is along the lines of the box wine of books...I don't know, but I'm a little annoyed that (a) this book has taken up precious shelf space for nearly two years, and (b) I spent as much time as I did reading it.

Richard Powers's language is beautiful and discriptive, but the book very quickly reminded me of listening to a person who won't get to the point. All of the words fogged up the story. When I was younger, I loved reading my dad's Tom Clancy novels, but I would skip over vast passages of technical description. I'm sure some readers cared about the specs of a nuclear sub; I just wanted to find out what happened.

I still want to find out what happened in The Echo Maker, too. Though the book didn't grip me at all, I plodded through because I WAS vaguely interested in the characters and was hoping maybe I'd get some satisfaction in the end. Like Mick Jagger, though, I was out of luck. My reaction throughout the book and at the resolution, if you want to call it that, was a resounding "huh?"

So, in short, I found it tiresome, confusing, and overly descriptive without the description adding to the story for me. It did have some beautiful writing and an intriguing premise, but those weren't enough to lead me to recommend it. Unless, that is, you're having trouble sleeping.


  1. Good to know! I am in a book club and am always looking for books. I'll skip over this one!

  2. Best book I've read in a long time is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.