A review of this — 5 years ago
This book just wasn’t for me. It’s hard to know where to begin, but I believe the previous owner of the book said it best: "Reminiscent of psychological thrillers “The Game” and “Eyes Wide Shut” – it’s intriguing, maddening, chilling, confusing. You’ll either love it or hate it!" It wasn’t that I hated it. However, I did find it maddening and confusing.
I think the essence of it for me comes down to emotion. I found the book made me work so hard intellectually, trying to work out what was going on, what the characters motivations were, what was going to happen next, how it related to Jungian theory, trying to work out what on earth it was trying to say, that I just didn’t connect with it emotionally. The protagonist started out thoroughly unlikeable, and that improved only marginally throughout his trials. Nor were any of the other characters likeable in any way. Since there was no one to connect with on an emotional level, I didn’t find it at all chilling, terrifying or erotic (though that last may also be due to the fact that what was erotic in 1968 is no longer so today).
I found the foreword self indulgent and rather reminiscent of the millionaire trickster character. The beginning was very slow and it didn’t seem to pick up until about 50 pages in, when the protagonist (finally) arrives in Greece. The whole approach of “this is the year I was born in, this is what my parents and childhood were like” annoyed me, but in retrospect I can see how it was necessary, even though that didn’t make me enjoy it any more. The story seemed to drag out for entirely too long and I found the constant twist after twist a bit tedious by the end.
I objected to the books treatment of Australia and Australians, but that is just a personal thing. Also, I wonder if the author is a little confused on the pronunciation of Goulburn? The much-maligned town is not far from here.
The connection between Alison and the Montgomery sisters seemed tenuous, quite implausible.
Overall, just not for me.