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June 12, 2008

Okay, as promised, here’s my reaction to Julia Ross’s Clandestine…

The first thing to know is that I’ve always loved Ross’s prose. I adore the way she uses language, and I always have. The thing is, I’ve never been able to finish one of her books. Most of the time, I’ll read 30-50 pages and then stop, loving the prose but not captured by the story. It’s a very curious reaction, one that puzzles and fascinates me. I’m not entirely sure what it is that makes me love the sentences but not the paragraphs, the details but not the larger picture. Even after Clandestine, I don’t know.

Clandestine was different than my usual experience — I read about 80% of it before closing it, unable to continue. At that point, the heroine, Sarah, started behaving in a way that seemed out of character, as her character had been established up to that point, and it seemed to me that the change in her behavior was dictated by the need to create tension at the end of the book, to create a Black Moment.

The thing is, that’s just my take on it. Someone else could read the book and not feel the same way. I bring myself, with my understanding of the world and my ideas on how people work, to the page, and that is as much a part of my experience of reading as the words on the page. Reading doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

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