Recovery, by Stephen Benatar

Two novellas in one volume, linked by the theme of - well not time travel exactly, but the idea of being able to revisit and relive the past and influence things with the benefit of hindsight.

After Letters for a Spy, which was ok-ish, I thought I'd try another by the author who accosts people in Waterstones. Wish Her Safe at Home seems to have the most recommendations but that wasn't on the shelf so I got this instead.

Well, I think he can write reasonably well, but I don't really feel the stories were that great. It was potentially an interesting idea but the story wasn't really tight enough.

I didn't know, when reading the book, how strong the link would be between the two stories ("Recovery" and "The Return of Ethan Hart"), so didn't know how the pacing would work (i.e. whether any of the dangling plot-lines of the first half would be tied up in the second). In fact there was no connection between the two, other than the general theme. Knowing this in advance would, I think, have made me less forgiving of some of the flaws in it.

The main thing I felt was that the book was just not that enjoyable to read. It took me several weeks to get through it, because it didn't grip me. In contrast, once I finished this book, the next book I read took less than a day. This felt more like a duty than a pleasure.

There was a mini-essay at the start of the book by a professor of literature (I think) who raved on about how good the writing was, and another small piece expressing similar views by someone else. These didn't add anything to the book at all (just said how good it was) so I think they were a bit superfluous.

Not sure if I'll bother with any more. I really wanted to like this, but didn't - sorry.

Completed : 08-May-2010

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