Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words
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I couldn’t find any information about the author.
Francois Soriano is an artist, bored with life and suffering with creator’s block and starts writing a diary.
This is an odd book. I’m not sure whether I liked it or not. It’s apparently a diary, recording the author’s thoughts. In the opening chapter Francois is sitting in a Parisian café. It’s 1968. He starts writing. Then after a couple of pages, it’s 2013 and he’s not in Paris, but California. Hmmm, I’m confused. The author carries on talking, explaining the reasons for writing Oblivion. That’s day one and I’m wondering what the hell is going on.
Day two he explains his name. Still not with the programme.
Then it’s day four and Francois has been shopping. Finally we have an interesting event. A woman cuts in front of the author in a queue for the till. Francois tears into her. It’s an interesting interaction.
Francois goes home and starts painting and we return to artistic introspection. And that was the trouble for me with this story. It’s largely day-to-day stuff that’s pretty dull. Every now and again the author would reveal items that interested me, like a relationship, but then the narrative would drift again after a tantalizing explanation that didn’t reach a satisfactory conclusion – like a thought that had just been thrown in.
From a technical standpoint Oblivion isn’t badly written, sometimes it’s pretty good. It’s well structured and edited. The problem was I just didn’t value the majority of the subject matter. I simply wasn’t engaged. Often the narrative came over as self-indulgent and pointless - the product description Oblivion says ‘darkly comic’. I failed to experience this and by the end I didn’t really care anymore.
Swearing and adult situations.
Rating: ** Two Stars