A Review of World and Town

World and TownI really liked the cover of Gish Jen’s World and Town. I did not really like the book. I feel like there’s a “Don’t judge a book by its cover” lesson in there somewhere.

Of course, I must preface this review by saying, I just don’t think it was my cup of tea. World and Town got great reviews and in some ways I can see why. The writing is very nice. There is a rich back story. It just didn’t work for me.

Hattie, the main character, has retreated to the small town of Riverlake after the death of her best friend and her husband. As she attempts to move on, she is confronted by her first love and gets entangled in the lives of her new neighbors, Cambodian refugees.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, but part of the problem is that I only really cared about Hattie’s. I also just found all of the story lines to move too slowly. The writing is punctuated by quotes, either quoting old friends, philosophers or scientific theories, which I found distracting and made the plot drag. As my mom would probably say, not enough dialogue!

In the end, I did wind up caring about what happened to most (though not all) of the characters. But now I’m very ready to care about a new group of characters in a new book.

P.S. Today is my mom’s birthday. I’m thinking of her on this and every other day.

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2 responses to “A Review of World and Town

  1. Diane Silverstein

    We too are thinking of your mom, as well as you, Adam and your dad. Today and every day.
    with love,
    Diane and family

  2. me too….everyday!

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