Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boris and Natasha BS

Child 44 Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was apparently originally intended to be a screenplay, and you can kind of tell. It's a story of the repressive society in Stalinist Russia; the main character is a member of the state police force and we follow him through his transformation from good soldier to skeptic via an investigation into the murders of children. But the characters are all shallow -- motivation is sort of passingly accounted for, and we are told what the characters think and feel rather than given believable reasons for their actions. And his portrayal of the evils of Stalinism is a little heavy handed. I'm sure it was no cake walk, but I don't trust his account -- it was too black and white and his villains are like cartoon villains, with no nuance or complexity. And the ending was ridiculously abrupt and tidy, with the main character impossibly finding a happy ending. In other words, it's easy to see this as a Hollywood screenplay. The book, though, is tedious and annoying.

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