Search This Blog

Saturday 14 September 2019

Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

My rule of thumb with books is 'I've started, so I'll finish'. It's been a struggle sometimes. Here, I very nearly didn't get past the second sentence, which started 'It was laying on its back….'. Gah! How can an editor/proofreader not notice this? I did wonder if I could pretend I never started this; one howling grammatical error only a few lines in wasn't exactly promising. 

Well, I did carry on. And there were a few more howlers. Unfortunately, I can't say that the novel was so good it didn't matter. It was mediocre, at best. 

Recently widowed Zoe…and I mean recently, as in three weeks (how on earth can you organise a funeral then a trip abroad all in three weeks?) decides to take herself and her grief to the Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrims' ways, between France and Spain, deciding at the same time to become a vegan (probably not the best decision when she needed a lot of walking energy). Martin, an engineer, recently divorced (and embittered by his wife's infidelity), also decides it's a good idea, at the same time prototyping a wheeled backpack, which he hopes will stand up to 2000 kilometres of pushing and pulling. Inevitably, the two are destined to pair up at some point, as in, intimately. But…oh, so, slowly. This dragged on rather and the absence of any interesting details of the Camino meant the whole thing never really warmed up. 

The authors tried to provide interest with colourful/annoying/philosophical/young/old/multinational/transgender characters, but they didn't elevate this book beyond mildly pleasant. 

Having stuck with Zoe and Martin for over 2000 km, I do feel there's possibly a sequel in them, as the ending wasn't neat and tidy and all wrapped up, but without the Camino backdrop and its walkers, these two rather ordinary, rather boring characters would find it hard to provide a decent backbone to a second book.


No comments:

Post a Comment