here. He liked it, but then, he also wrote The Stand, which is about 5,000 pages long. If I can get through Goldfinch without breaking my wrist, I'll let you know what I think.
On Sunday, I returned Fallen Woman and picked up another one by a popular writer--I won't name her because I'm also going to dis her; but she's a respected writer (meaning, it's not Danielle Steele or Norah Roberts) who writes thriller type novels. In the first twenty pages, she had two sloppy descriptions which turned me off right away; the kind that when I'm teaching beginning writers, I tell them to avoid because it's a form of cheating. First, she described a lead character by saying that he looked like a more haggard version of Harrison Ford. Why is this cheating? Because it's a pop culture short cut--it lets the writer (and the reader) off the hook of having to actual construct a specific character. Second, she described another character by having her look in the mirror and notice things about herself, that no one ever really notices when looking at her reflection. Like, I don't look in the mirror each morning and note my chestnut colored mane (I would also never use the word "mane" to describe any hair not on a horse) and French sloped nose and hazel eyes. I might notice if I'm tired or if I have a reddish stye on the inner lid or if my hair is suddenly all white from a frightful dream. I might notice that I need to color my hairline yet again for the 400th time, but I'm not going to take inventory of my basic physical characteristics, ones I've seen since I could reach the mirror. That's the writer being lazy--not wanting to find a way weave the character's appearance into the story or to show it in more startling ways.
But I may soldier on through the book, because it's also very easy to read and doesn't weigh five pounds.