The trouble with the book, though, even as the closer to a series, is that it’s overburdened by backstory. There’s an art to writing a standalone volume of an ongoing series. The easy way to compensate for the extension of a story over many volumes is to privilege character over plot; this leads to those hugely multi-volume series (Sue Grafton, say, or Janet Evanovich) with monster-of-the-week plotting and soap-opera involvement in character. Wilson, to his credit, doesn’t do this; on the other hand, this novel is so wrapped up in the aftereffects of a previous one that the first quarter of the book is unintelligible without it, or at least thoroughly uninteresting — it takes the book rather a long time to work itself into the present.
July 12, 2010, 3:42pm Comments