I usually have a lot of patience for reading books I don't particularly care for (case in point, Henry James). But one thing I cannot abide is bad writing. Not confusing, comma-addicted, circumlocutory writing...but just bad. Juvenile, forced, contrived, etc. Dan Brown. Memoirs of a Geisha.
I got 17 pages into Suite Francaise. I had done a little research into and it sounded like a book that I would love. Maybe it is a story I would have loved. But I can't stand the writing. The first two chapters I was thinking: it's not going to all be like this, is it? It can't be this bad. Can it? But the next chapter was like the previous two...and I couldn't take it anymore. It's really bad. It is so bad, in fact, that I decided to give up. Not give up and come back to (like I, Claudius - just too dense for the time that I was trying to read it, or Studs Lonigan - too long for the time I had to read it), but simply give up. I don't remember the last time that I gave up on a book. Like I said, I can take a lot of crap...again refer to my penchant for reading - and disliking - James...but I cannot stand bad writing (did I just say that James isn't 'bad' writing? Not at least in the same way as this, and Memoirs of a Geisha, and Dan Brown, are bad writing). It really depresses me, because I was looking forward to enjoying this novel.
So, instead, I'm going to read Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. I'm 17 pages into it, and I already enjoy it a universe more than the first 17 pages of Suite Francaise. Fear of Flying, I think, is going to be like Portnoy's Complaint. And that I can take.