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The Canal (2010)

by Lee Rourke(Favorite Author)
3.38 of 5 Votes: 3
1935554018 (ISBN13: 9781935554011)
Melville House
review 1: This one really failed for me. I liked some of the ideas Rourke was trying to work with - a character who is fascinated by boredom, the flow of life experienced beside an urban canal, gangs, development. And the end scenes had a fair amount of pace and drama. But the style turned the reading into a real slog. It felt at times like the wrong sort of foreign film - one that wears its cleverness too blatantly - attempts to revisit the territory of Camus, Beckett and Ballard were a little too obvious.
review 2: It's great that the odd experimental British novel is still being published and receiving some recognition, but this isn't especially good, original or memorable. The blurb includes a quote from someone comparing Rourke to Joyce, Ballard and Houellebecq,
... more which is far from the mark. I can see how you may think he has things in common with Delillo, Ballard or Houellebecq because of the blank, inexpressive, gloomy tone of his writing, but these writers explore broad social themes and diagnose aspects of modern life that aren't quite as apparent to other people. The Canal is very introspective and explores existential themes rather than social themes, but not particularly well. His writing reminds me more of Hamsun, Beckett and Camus, but he's nowhere near as good as any of them. I don't really know who this book is aimed at or who its fans are because if you are familiar with these writers you are going to make an unflattering comparison. You would have to not have read these writers to think what Rourke is doing is new or interesting. Still, it's good to have a little avant garde energy around in English Literature at the moment, and I'll have to get around to giving Tom McCarthy and Lars Iyer a go as well. less
Reviews (see all)
Scroll down to read Mark Zieg's review. Pretty much sums it up for me.
Quite macabre, yet still an interesting and oddly entertaining tale.
i enjoyed the writing but the content and story were just okay.
Little too dark for my liking. Like Mamet on downers.
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