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14 Mar 2011

Strange Fits of Passion



Strange fits of passion have I known: And I will dare to tell
Wordsworth


synopsis

26-yr-old Maureen marries a charismatic fellow journalist. Amidst a whirlwind relationship of sex and alcohol, he turns out to be an abusive husband. They have a baby and she escapes to a small seaside town in Maine. A murder occurs. What will be the outcome of the trial?






A journalist is putting together an article about the Maureen English case and so Strange Fits of Passion is told through the journalist's notes and Maureen's own memoir-style letters. It's not a style I warm to easily, but in this journalistic thrust, it worked well enough.

It's a lightly compelling story that I admit had me intrigued. Until the last part. It was all terribly predictable, and rather rushed at the end. I was intrigued because it was nicely told and unfolding steadily, but mostly because I was waiting to be dazzled, shocked, at least a little surprised. It turned out to be a very prosaic story. Nothing already not told many times, and much better.

While the note/letter style worked, it stole a lot of emotion from Maureen's story. I would have been much more interested in the raw and complex emotions, as well as the daily interactions, that passed between her and her husband, than mostly a single-event story.

However, if you're stuck at the airport for a few hours and have only a quick flight, it's not a bad one to pick up to wile away time.
I will try another Shreve one day.

3 comments:

  1. Sorry you did not like this book. I've read all of Shreve's books and it was one of my favorites. Funny how we all like different things - that's what makes blogging so fun.

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  2. I've never read any Shreve at all, but i'm tempted, as they always have loads at the library! And i've heard lots of good things...probably won't start with this one,though!

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  3. The library would be a great place to grab this author I think. I'll take a look myself when I visit England again.

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