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politerobot

politerobot

Auto-da-fe (A Continuum book)

Auto-da-fe (A Continuum book) - Elias Canetti [DISCLAIMER: The two stars I'm giving this book does not reflect the quality of the work, but my experience of it. I wish there was an additional star or something, for books that you can see are good, but just does not suit your tastes.]

I could not finish it. I've been trudging through it since August, it is now December, and I've only gotten halfway. The first hundred pages I liked, and read quickly. After that however, it just got harder and harder to summon up the will to read. Every time I picked it up I read a few pages, found myself bored and uninterested, and put it down again to go read something else.

It's a shame, because I can see that it is at times well written, and there are several really good parts, but I can't help it: I find it inexplicably dull. The prose is extremely dense, yet little happens at all, and the characters are just... boring. I suppose they are meant to be, you aren't really supposed to feel sympathy for any of them, so that worked, I guess. It just made the novel even more unreadable for my part.

Canetti drags out details and minute scenes into several pages - sometimes chapters! - and while this can be done very successfully (see Nicholson Baker), Canetti does not manage to hold my interest while doing it. He also spends a lot of time in the head of his characters, both detailing dreams (which I hate in a novel, it seems like a silly trick most of the time) and thoughts. In a few parts this is well done - Canetti manages to show the lunacy of his characters in an original manner, where I was delighted by the flow of the prose. Most of the time however, I'm just bored. Bored, bored, bored.

I have, even though I hate doing it, decided to leave it unfinished, because I can't keep up reading a book that bores me to tears (especially such a long book, with such tiny typeface!). It's a waste of time, time I could spend reading other, more interesing books. I might come back to it one day, so I've marked my place, but for now, it'll stay half-unread.