Or books? I’ve got two in mind, both so bad I can’t get them out of my mind: Norman Mailer’s Ancient Evenings and Evelyn Waugh’s The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. I like both writers and had high expectations for both titles, which of course makes my disappointment even worse.
Ancient Evenings was published in 1983 and it was highly hyped as Mailer’s return to the novel after an absence of nearly 20 years. Well, based on this densely imagined recreation of Rameses, Nefertiti and life in Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, he should’ve stayed away. For every page of truly brilliant writing, there are 20 pages of the worst dreck imaginable—mawkish, embarrassing, numbing. So numbing you might lose consciousness. It’s the literary equivalent of getting hit in the head with a brick.
Years of drinking and drugging finally caught up to Waugh in 1954, when he suffered a bizarre mental breakdown marked by paranoid hallucinations and the belief that he was possessed by devils. The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957) is his semi-fictionalized account of the experience. It’s a fascinating premise, and I picked it up hoping I’d get a Waughesque version of William Styron’s Darkness Visible. It’s more like listening to a drunken friend tell you about the dream he had last night. Pinfold is repetitious, unstructured and rhythmless—and then this happened and this happened and this happened—written with one-dimensional humor and zero-dimensional insight or analysis. For a relatively short book (232 pages in paperback), it goes on forever and ever and ever.
I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan but I couldn't finish Passenger to Frankfurt. Christie was brilliant at constructing mystery plots, but not so good at a suspense/thriller or whatever that book is supposed to be.
Under the Dome bu Stephen King
Very poor ending
Very much a waste of my time once I arrived there
I'm not saying I am as a good a writer as he is but I believe I would have written a better, more satisfying ending
Orfe by Cynthia Voigt!
She wrote the wonderful Homecoming and Dicey's Song. Then, she writes this novel of despair and darkness where the female protagonist projectile vomits at will. Give me a break!!!
Good question-it inspired me to write a blog post.
At some point I should possibly read more Salinger...