I’ve been putting off writing this review for a couple of days, which for me is a very bad thing. I need to write while things are still fresh in my head. It made me think, why am I avoiding this so much? and I came up with a pretty good reason. First person narrative in which not a whole lot happens. It’s a pet peeve of mine and Asunder by Chloe Aridjis is told in this way.
At first glance Asunder looks like a pretty engaging novel. It is told from the point of view of a security guard at the National Gallery in London. I love behind the scenes looks at places like this, and Aridjis gives you some of that. There are interesting back stories about some of the different galleries and pieces of art, as well as National Gallery lore that you need to be on the ‘inside’ to know (at least I imagine you do). All that stuff I found interesting.
As mentioned above, my pet peeve was with the voice. Remember that it is just a pet peeve, others may not find it annoying, but anytime I see the word ‘I’ in an narrative my hackles are raised. Throughout Asunder the reader spends an awful lot of time inside the narrator’s head. At times this renders the book more of a meditation than a story.
Who would like this book? If you are planning on visiting galleries in London anytime soon, I would recommend Asunder. Perhaps one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have is because I do not know London or its major galleries all that well. But tracing the steps of the various characters in the novel might be fun. In addition to the National Gallery, the Tate is often talked about as well (and the Louvre when they go to Paris).
I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review.