Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review - "Medea and Her Children"

"Medea and Her Children" by Ludmila Ulitskaya
My grade: C

I really must begin by saying that the translation of this book is quite bad. Instead of reading it in the original Russian (which I could have done), I for some reason decided to read it in English. It was quite obvious though in many places that the author was translating directly from the Russian, and the wording of certain sentences was not very 'English'-sounding.

Additionally, the original work is quite lacking. I almost feel like the author ran out of things to say, and pulled this book together out of thin air. She tells the story of about 50 different characters, who are only slightly connected with each other. Their stories are neither unique nor interesting, and one is left with this question: what is the point/message of all this? In the end, I found none.

The characters are likewise entirely undeveloped, maybe only partially because there are so many of them. Medea herself, who I guess is supposed to be the protagonist, is undeveloped. Not a single one is believable or true to himself, and not a single emotion is evoked throughout the whole thing. Even when Masha herself (here's a bit of a spoiler...) commits suicide, one only asks: who cares? My overall judgment: not worth your, or anybody's, time.

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