"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bay of Souls

TITLE: Bay of Souls
AUTHOR: Robert Stone

I finished this a couple of days ago, but was busy with other things and to be honest, I wasn't sure what to say about this. This is the first book by Stone that I've read and I would read others. He's a good, solid writer who has a full command of his characters. Michael Ahearn, a professor at a midwest college, husband, and father, becomes infatuated with a new colleague, Lara Purcell. They're soon having an affair and when Lara, who's from a Caribbean island, asks him to join her there, where she plans to undergo a ritual to restore her soul, as well as take care of personal affairs after the death of her brother, Michael readily agrees, despite the danger of a revolution on the island and forsaking family.

There's no doubt Michael's obsession is slowly destroying him. Stone is masterful with the psychological aspects and the dangers Michael faces emotionally and well as physically on the island are well drawn, but ultimately, I felt something lacking. I suppose I wanted something more from the ending, though I can't complain as it fit the story. But still... I can't put my finger on what seems to be missing from this book. It was enjoyable, I read it fairly quickly (yeah, I know it didn't seem like it), the prose moved along at a decent pace, and the characters were believable. The book was a bestseller and received critical accolades. I guess I just wanted a more explosive payoff than the quiet one I got.

Ah well, on to the next book. I'm reading my gym book on the subway, too, so won't be changing my subway reading in the sidebar for a while yet. And I just got a copy of Minette Walters' The Tinderbox, a novella published in England. Online shopping is a wondrous thing. I got it through a listing on Amazon and the supplier was the efficient and speedy The Book Depository Ltd.