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The Eleventh Hour

Reading for fun, knowledge and power.

Currently reading

A Hundred Summers
Beatriz Williams
Progress: 10/277 pages
The Weaker Vessel
Antonia Fraser
The Post-Birthday World - Lionel Shriver The book, I found, has a tendency to lean towards the gimmicky. Instead of fully exploring two divergent, independent universes, the narrative is limited to a kind of bizarro, mirror universe. If Irina has hot sex in one timeline, then she has tepid sex in the second one. If she starts an argument, then the reverse universe sees her mediating an argument. If Irina becomes passionate and free-wheeling with one lover, then she turns into the exact and line-point opposite with the other: prudish and chained to her relationship. It becomes predictable, after a while. I knew exactly what was coming; there were no surprises, and it left me with the very distinct impression that I was reading a book, rather than getting lost with the characters in their world.

However, where the book does excel, is at portraying human relationships. Anyone who has been in more than one intimate relationship will recognize themselves in Irina's interactions with her boyfriends. The question of who Irina is better with - the shy Lawrence or the exciting, sexually magnetic Ramsey - has a universal quality to it: hasn't everyone thought...what if? Though I am happy with my significant other, I'll be honest: I've thought, on occasion, about some of my ex-boyfriends, and where I might be now if we'd stayed together. The book offers a tantalizing glimpse, a rare resolution to that what-if question. It may be a bit gimmicky in spots, but the real treat here is the writing style and the heartbreaking relationships between Irina and her (would be) lovers.