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Monday, 20 August 2012

The Black Angel, by John Connolly, Reviewed.

I suspect that this is a very good book of its type, but I’ll never know. Sometimes, as a reader, I pick up a book and begin to read and know, very quickly that it isn’t for me. This is, obviously, a personal response.

Other readers may, however, gain value from the reasons why I failed to get past page 33 of a 596 page book. The book is described as ‘dark and powerful yet beautifully written’, by Big Issue, and that, I suspect, would have been my own assessment had I finished it. The writing is, without doubt, good. And it is a very dark piece of work. Which is why I didn’t read it.

For me, this was too dark and gave no glimmer of hope for any lightness. I’ve read and enjoyed horror, thrillers of all sorts, but I need to have some hint of lightness to balance the dark. In The Black Angel, there was no such hint. And the darkness all revolved around brutal mistreatment of women, around trading in women as objects. I find that a difficult subject to deal with but could have continued had there been even a sprinkling of lightness, perhaps a touch of humour here and there. But, when all is darkness, I find the text depressing. And depression is something I can do without.

We all have our own peculiarities: my own is that I can write very dark material, but always add lightness. I can’t read dark material that lacks such a touch. I’ve probably missed out on a very good book. The writing is generally good and I’ve little doubt that the author can tell a tale. But this one wasn’t for me. I hope this is of use to some potential readers, but stress that this is a very personal response.

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