Thursday, January 21, 2016
When I got a copy of Mary Ellen Taylor's THE VIEW FROM PRINCE I thought it would transport me to Alexandra, Virginia, a place not too far from where I live. It is alovely section of Virginia and it has a longand rich history. surely that history included fascinating people. It was that place I hoped to see and those people I wanted to meet in tis novel. I read several chapters without happening upon the sense of place that I find so important in fiction. Alexandria was a pale backdrop to equally pale characters. Halfway through the story, I gave up trying to like it.
Taylor is no novice. She the author of four other novels. Why this story, which centers on a psychologist burden with guilt, did not engage my attention may be simply a matter of personal taste. Another reader might love the no-frills prose, the earthy characters who dwell in mind numbing trivia. I did not. I found that the characters competed with each other in trying to have the most exciting career and in the end, neither Lisa, the protagonist reputed for her heart of stone nor the supporting characters had much to say that would convince me to keep turning the pages. There was much intercutting of contemporary scenes with those of an an earlier. Separate the the characters from the former from those of the latter and there is no significant different--none come alive, none evokes much beyond boredom.
It is not my intention to write mean spirited reviews. I am well aware of much more effort it takes to produce a novel. But I did not start this blog to offer praise when praise is not due. In my opinion, THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET is not praiseworthy. I hope I will find Taylor's next book more enticing.