No such word, I hear you say -- I just invented it for a strange disability I seem to have contracted lately -- the inability to finish books. Of course I do finish loads of books but I was rather shocked this morning when I realised that I have put quite a few aside recently without getting to the end. To name a few:
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell -- I got about two thirds through this and just ran out of enthusiasm.
The Historian -- abandoned this really early on, as it didn't appeal at all. Gave it to my daughter who has loved it so perhaps I should have another go.
The God of Small Things -- read this last summer when I was in Kerala, where it is set. Got very close to the end but became irritated with the narrative voice and thought the end was predictable -- skipped through and checked, found I was right.
Latest casualty is The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco. I thought this looked so promising. It's about an antiquarian bookseller who loses his memory -- but selectively. He can remember all the books he's read, all the history he's learned, but he can't remember who he is, or anything about his family or his life. So he sets about trying to get his memory back -- goes to his old family home and starts reading all the books he had as a boy. So far so good -- and the book is beautifully ilustrated with coloured reproductions of all the pictures from the books and comics he's reading. But my goodness -- it does go on! I kept thinking we were going to get somewhere soon, but no -- book after book came out of attics, cupboards, boxes -- bottle after bottle of wine was opened, meal after meal (lovingly prepared by old peasant nanny) was consumed and still no sign of that elusive memory. So I packed it in. Shame really -- a nice idea but not well executed. Or is it me?