My Complaints about The Complaints

rankinI haven’t written for a while. I’ve been struggling to find stuff I wanted to write about. I suppose everyone goes through spells like this (if so, please write and tell me about it!). It’s not as though there’s been a shortage of things happening, more like I haven’t been able to figure out what I wanted to say about those things. Anyway, I’m back now (I think) and I’m going to try to start doing regular posts again from this week.

I’ve been struggling to read these last few months too. Yesterday I finished The Complaints by Ian Rankin (pictured above) and I have to say I really struggled with that too. I don’t think it was Ian Rankin’s work I was struggling with (I know he’s a really good writer) but maybe the struggle was with the genre. I’m not a huge crime fan and that which I do like is the more psychological stuff (I’m trying to write one at the moment actually). The Complaints is a bit external for me (what the hell does that mean?!). I mean, there’s lots of description of external events; ‘he ran his hands through his hair’, ‘he put the kettle on to boil’, ‘he sat opposite her and gazed out of the window’ …that kind of thing. There’s less interior life to the characters than I would have liked. This kind of crime novel doesn’t set out to portray its characters’ interior lives much though, it’s not the point of them, so I’m really criticising the book for not being a different kind of book which is a stupid thing to do. I told you I’ve been struggling.

The parts of the book I liked were the set-up (great idea to have two cops, both under suspicion, both suspicious of each other); the descriptions of the city (atmospheric and pithy); the dialogue (realistic and clever, mostly). The parts about the book I didn’t like were the characters (uninspiring and a bit clunky); the plot (lost my way half way through and found myself reading a lot of names of people I didn’t know and didn’t want to know); the dialogue (I know I mentioned that as a positive but the bits that weren’t good were cheesy and felt like they’d come from a cheap movie). I was at least able to read this without comparing it to the Rebus books because I’ve never read any. I read this after failing to finish a few really heavy books including Ulysses (about the third time I’ve started this one!) and wanted a fairly easy, fun read. I didn’t find it easy or fun.

I’ve loved reading all my life so why why why am I suddenly struggling to enjoy it?! What can I read to get back some energy and enthusiasm?!




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