2007: 22. The Thin Place

“There were three girlfriends and they were walking down a trail that led to a lake.  One small and plump, one pretty and medium-sized, one not so pretty and small.  This was in the early years of the twenty-first century, the unspeakable having happened so many times everyone was still in shock, still reeling from what they’d seen, what they’d done or failed to do.”

The Thin Place, Kathryn Davis

I read this book because Bookslut raved about it so, and because I had read Davis’s Versailles, a novel about Marie Antoinette, and found it hauntingly beautiful.  I was less moved by The Thin Place.  Davis is undoubtedly a wonderful writer, who manages to mix realist and compelling characters with exquisite prose.  It should have been a slam dunk, but the novel left me cold.  Bits and pieces interested me -  such as Helen Zeebrugge’s struggle to find meaning and dignity in old age, the story of tragic Miss Inez Fair and the boating tragedy, and Lorna’s struggle to figure out how to grow up and chose between popular Sunny and otherworldly Meese.  I loved the way she wrote about non-human creatures - capturing their essence without too much anthromorphizing.  But over all, and for whatever reason, the novel in toto left me cold.  Maybe because I thought the part with Meese’s healing power was unnecessary to the story (why bring in the Thin Place of the title - why isn’t the story of a life of a town enough?), or because (SPOILER!!) I am sick to death of stories ending with shootings - I am looking at you, Empire Falls.  Or maybe it was just the mood I was in when I read this, because part of me feels that if I read it again I would love it to bits, and just be swept away by it.


Recommend for: People who appreciate really fine writing and characterization; people who have just a little bit more patience than I do for po-mo artistic writing.


Date/Place Completed: 02/16/07, D.C.

Categories: Fiction.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017