Life is more mystery than misery

(or at least, that's what I like to think)

Muse (a review with little amusement)

It’s been actually the first time I have finished a book with a great effort and, most importantly, the first time I have had the urge to throw it against the head of a person sited on the bus in front of me: such was the rage I had the moment I turned the last page.

This is due to several aspects:

I have found that three of every four chapters (that would be 75% of the novel) have been hard for me to read, not because I didn’t understand them but because it came a time when the supposed originality in the narrative wasn’t worthy.

On the other hand, there is almost only one story that grabbed my attention – the one about the poor French receptionist (Eric), an obsessed poet who writes endless poems to Naomi, the main character and first narrative voice of the novel- and that one wasn’t well resolved at the end, which really pissed me off. That story was the main reason I kept reading after the second act, where the fashion world that Naomi inhabits begins to disappear and the story shapes into a series of chapters that reflect the mix of despair, uneasiness, youth, drugs and amnesic sex that the life of the main character has become.

At the end it’s not the theme that bothers me so much -nothing new and innovative about sex and rock and roll- but the gibberish in which the narrative transforms itself, because here is the question: where is the limit? In art, I mean. Can a writer try anything just to be original in spite of the audience? Is something unusual good just because it is new and original? Since when original and good became the same word? Here it is where “Muse” doesn’t work for me. It can be inspiring at some moments; that I’ll agree with. But the rest seems a narrative tall tell to me. The inspirational moments are easily forgotten by the forced coolness disguised into originality by the second and third act.

So, bottom line: cool cover, not too cool story.

One could think that “Muse” was a literary experiment in form and content, (with a main character who you almost despise at the end) that somehow got published. Fashion, sex, drugs and inspiration are key words for many publishers and a cool cover can work almost as many miracles as the best and most expensive cosmetic. But at the end you’ll always see the ugly face.  And, well, maybe that’s what the author tried to explain, so I must give her the credit for that: you can love or hate it, but you’ll feel something about it, that’s guaranteed. Maybe “muse” is meant to be that piece of art for me, that one that I can’t stand but one that I can’t forget either.

Laia Vilaseca.

For more info or to purchase this book click here.


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