This book was recommended to me in passing as “might be interesting”. It’s about
people living on a block near Central Park—-and they walk their dogs, and form relationships because they meet each other walking their dogs.
OK–I like New York, I like dogs, sounds interesting . . .
At first I thought it might be me—not in the right mood? Not reading it steadily enough to get hooked?
But I had a lot of trouble figuring out (or caring) which character was Polly, or Jody or Everett or Simon or George or Jamie . . . then later, Laura, Alexandra . . . and stream of consciousness be darned, I didn’t care what they were thinking most of the time. (Ulysses was a “walk in the park” (ouch) compared to this book.)
If the author hadn’t made it a point every other minute to mention that they were close to Central Park, the setting could have been in Peoria or Memphis. It didn’t ring any New York bells for me. I can read one line of Dorothy Parker and find a closer vibe to New York than Cathleen Schine’s whole book.
I found the crude language to be baggage dragged in for effect, along with the smoking, and often I’d find myself saying —what?– to descriptions of the characters or their activities. Just not believable—Jody practices “several hours a day on her violin”. That’s a lot of practicing for someone with a full time job, and it’s only mentioned in passing. If I had the energy I’d reread the book to see just how often Jody practices.
Stuff like that—enough. I think the 289 pages could have been cut and better edited. I did finish the book—it became a crusade on how bad it could be.
Reviewers words “entrancing” (!) “couldn’t put it down” (!)
I found it boring. (And this from someone who whipped through Genghis Khan . . .)
Good luck if you decide to try it—let me know what YOU think.