Monday, October 8, 2012

BOOK: Touch by Alexi Zentner

Touch by Alexi Zentner, 264 pages

Canadian Book Challenge 6; Giller Prize Longlist 2011

There was a lot of potential in this book, but it wasn't the right book for me. It's one of those books that I liked, but didn't; I remember parts of it vividly, but didn't understand the overall theme in the book; I'm not a fan of magical realism, but sometimes it works for me - this time it mostly did. As you can see, I'm quite conflicted about it.

It is an historical story set in a small logging village in British Columbia. The story is ultimately about a minister who returns to the place he grew up. His story is also the story of his father and grandfather, the grandfather who founded the village. It's the classic 'man looks back on his life and what made him the man he is today' tale. I actually had a hard time keeping the characters organized in my head, which is strange because there weren't that many of them, but the flips in time and generation was challenging. The view of life in isolated northern Canada, and the snow! was a part I did like, as well as how the mythology of the area developed.  Also, how some people could benefit from the gold rush without mining any gold. There were some gruesome (cannibalism?) parts, and while I liked the magical stuff, it almost veered too far.

I read this back in August and it did transported me to a different time and place so it certainly set its atmosphere and location well. Ultimately, I didn't love it but I has read many rave reviews (see below) and I can appreciate why it gets the raves. Sometimes those books are hit or miss for me.

also reviewed: beachreader; terri B at tip of the iceberg; eva at a striped armchair; buried in print; jules at jules' book reviews;