Monday, January 21, 2008

In the middle

I absolutely loved Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River, but her latest book, The Worst Thing I've Done, was disappointing. It lacked the humanity of Stones and replaced it instead with unlikeable characters. The story alternates viewpoints among five characters, three of whom had been tangled in a triangle of friendship and jealousy since childhood. The three seem to feed off of and enable the worst qualities of the others' personalities, which made them more annoying than interesting. Hegi also intertwined political rantings with the plot, and while I'm in agreement with her views, they didn't seem to have much relevance to the book. I did like the descriptions of Annie's art -- she would work through her emotions and let the creation of the collages bring out buried memories and feelings -- but those weren't quite enough to redeem an otherwise dull narrative.

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