September 10, 2005

“Believe, Father, that you begot a man.”

Posted in books tagged , at 6:39 pm by placeinthestars

So I finished reading Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine last night and… well, I really wanted to love it, but I’m kind of just indifferent about it.

I never quite warmed to Alexias, which is probably the root of the problem. There were parts when I liked him a lot, but then there were parts when I just didn’t care, I wanted more about Lysis. Which seems to be the way these things go for me. I really liked Lysis a lot, possibly because I was seeing him through Alexias’ eyes, but the book seemed to me to meander too much from one incident to another, rather than hanging together as a cohesive whole. I mean, I get that the structure is built around what happens to Athens, but it just didn’t draw me in emotionally, except for the bits at the beginning, when you could tell Alexias was upset when he thought Lysis didn’t like him, and his joy when he found out Lysis did. But I just wasn’t that captivated, and all the discussions of politics and philosophy, which don’t particularly interest me, but which I would have borne gracefully if I were emotionally attached to Alexias, started to wear on my nerves. I also think all the “I’m feeling miserable at home but I can’t tell anyone because it would shame us both” really hampered my ability to empathize with Alexias.

And I just got distracted by something else in the middle of writing this, so I don’t think I really have anything else to say.

There were definitely parts I liked, and I think she really brings the world to life, but the story itself just didn’t meet my emotional needs.



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