Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review - "The Tartar Steppe"

"The Tartar Steppe" by Dino Buzzati
My grade: C

This is the Seinfeld of books, except a lot less entertaining, and never funny. It is a book about nothing, where essentially nothing happens. On top of that, the nothing happens in a very very boring way! Alright, perhaps I'm being a bit unfair. The book is not exactly about nothing; it does have a message, but one we've all heard a billion times. The message is: don't live waiting for great events to happen in the future, but live in the moment, live today. There, I just summed up the whole book in less than 20 words. Why did the author need 265 pages?

Here's my general perspective, especially fitting to this novel: if you don't have anything unique to say but want to say it anyway, say it quickly. For example, write a short story (and by that, I mean really short). If you insist on writing a longer narrative, without a huge meaning in there somewhere, you're going to have to incorporate some literary maneuvers. For example, give us a plot. Or give us great characters. Or, at the very minimum, tell the story in a captivating manner. Just throwing words on paper, in a generally inoffensive manner, is simply not going to cut it.

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