Booking Through Thursday: A Stone of Disappointment


Here’s this week’s Booking Through Thursday:

Name a book or author that you truly wanted to love but left you disappointed. (And, of course, explain why.)

Four years ago I started reading Dow Mossman‘s The Stones of Summer. I was inspired to read this obscure novel after seeing the documentary Stone Reader, a quest story by Mark Moskowitz, who seeks out a legendary author and this supposed literary masterpiece — Mossman and above-mentioned novel.

When I tracked down a copy of the novel, I barely slogged through the first five pages before giving up. It wasn’t a work of genius. It was muddled and purple, launching into sentences that obscured rather than revealed meaning:

When August came, thick as a dream of falling timbers, Dawes Williams and his mother would pick Simpson up at his office, and then they would all drive west, all evening, the sun before them dying like the insides of a stone melon, split and watery, halving with blood.

The film, on the other hand, is brilliant, a paean to the power of reading.

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3 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: A Stone of Disappointment

  1. Recently I was disappointed upon rereading A Farewell to Arms. Still beautiful in parts, I found its characters lacking. I understand that Hemingway built an aesthetic to explain his characters’ willfully unreflective inner lives and their fatuous dialogue, but it bothered me. In fact, I’ve gone from hero worshipping him at 18 to feeling very mixed emotions about him as a human being, and I also believe his personal flaws ended up affecting his art. This has been painful for me. I’ll always love his short stories, but his novels and especially his nonfiction expose something lacking in him and his art.

    • I have to agree about Hemingway, too. I went through the same Hemingway hero worship, but later rereadings are spotty. When he’s good he’s great; when he’s bad, he’s very bad.

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