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.
Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
Great premise, showing the origins of Hannibal Lecter, but at the same time it takes some of the mystery out of the character and humanizes him a bit too much. Sometimes it's better not to know where someone came from. That makes them even scarier as if they'd just popped out of the ground that way. Also, the book felt like it was written more to be a screenplay than a novel and could have done a lot more with the plot and character development.
Just my two cents :)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of my favourite authors. After reading almost all his novels, i started reading The Autumn Of The Patriarch. its the first time i ever permitted my self to leave a book unfinished. so dissapointing. No plot, and huge sentences, sometimes one whole page with no fullstop. too bad...
The worst book Stephen King ever wrote was Rose Madder. He is and always has been an inspiration to me - he's sold billions of books! - but though I own and have read all his books, this one was a snoozer!