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Books: Kane & Abel (Jeffrey Archer)

September 21, 2008

Books: Filling the gaping hole, originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

Kane and Abel is the first book I’ve finished reading this year. This is something I’m quite proud of. Normally I’d have been distracted by something or other before I’d finished what ever it is I’m attempting to read. Not so on this ocassion. I actually finished the book ten days after I received it as a birthday present. That’s quite an achievement, let me tell you.

More of an achievement than the book itself, I might add. It might have been a bestseller for Archer – soon after it’s release it became the Number One on the New York Times bestseller list – but reading it now I find it difficult to understand exactly how.

At times the plot was breathtakingly unlikely, with coiincidences falling onto the page with increasing regularity. The first time Kane meets Abel is one of the most striking I recall. By half way through I was beginning to get really annoyed with them.

Maybe the surprises in the tale had been lessened because I remember the key points in the plot from the TV mini-series, but still there were moments which left me squirming as I read it to and from work. Jeffrey Archer may be successful at his novel-writing but the man can’t write sex scenes to save his life. Frankly, he’d have been better off bullet-pointing everything.

That said, it is a page-turner and one guaranteed to deliver a modicum of self-satisfaction if, like me, you’re looking for a sense of achievement. And, if I’m being fair there was a point when I was getting angry with Abel for being such an idiot to harbour such bitterness and resentment for so long. Was it really the author’s reliance on the unlikely to propel the novel or are there really those people around who are that blinkered? I hope for the former as much as I fear it could be the latter.

Reading the damn thing did do what I hoped it would. It’s helped get me into the reading thing ahead of a holiday when I’m hoping I’ll read even more. The fact that when I read Kane and Abel I often found myself sheepishly retrieving the book from my bag like I was sitting on public transport preparing to finger my way through some hard-core pornography, is open to interpretation. I’m happy to admit I’m a snob.

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