Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Seed Collectors-Scarlett Thomas

The Seed Collections-Scarlett Thomas

the facts
satisfaction: down
pages: 384
gender: F
nationality: UK
year: 2015
novel

There is a seed pod left behind to each of Oleander's heirs. It may belong to the species that killed their mothers and each heir has a different life and reaction to their shared pasts.

The last Thomas I read I sort of enjoyed but hated the ending. I figured I'd give her another try as she has quite a following and boy do I regret it.
I hated pretty much every character in the novel. I know it's not really a requirement to like characters in literature and I have loved reading some truly terrible people but these characters are not people-they're stereotypes. Instead of actually developing characters and having them develop as the time goes on in the novel, Thomas instead takes archetypes and one dimensional cardboard cut outs and then pretends they are interacting with each other instead of being pieces of cardboard thinking solely of cardboard. I mean, really, one of the female characters worries she is fat and so we're treated to pages and pages that are just pure calorie counting and the typical hypocrisies of the dieting. YAWN.
And then there is the plot. The interminable, slow plot where everyone is basically an asshole to each other and the 'secrets' are well known to everyone involved. Now, I have known families like this-the open secrets, the visible money, the ennui of the upper class pretending they are not rich and the cultural appropriation and so I know this is not Thomas's invention but goodness, it did not make for good reading. Everything was just so...dull? done a bazillion times before? The professor justifying his obsession with a student, the lovers who cannot be together. And the brand names. Really. Now Atwood too does brand names but at least she makes them up while after page of page of Thomas's writing, I was worried that this was not a novel but rather a collection of dull paid-for advertising writing bits thrown together.

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