Sunday 24 May 2009

Frankie & Stankie by Barbara Trapido

Or is it Frankie and Stinky? It should be.

I was filled with hope as this book started. Set in South Africa, the story begins in the 1950s as two sisters, Dinah & Lisa navigate the turbulent world of adolescence and apartheid.

My hope soon gave way to dismay as the sheer volume of minutia deadens the flow of the story or perhaps more accurately stops the story altogether. My dismay turned to disgust when 2/3 of the way through the novel I realised that there was unequivocally and absolutely no plot.

It was as if the author had found some young girls diaries and put them together with all the mundane observations and called it a book. The details are exquisite and evokes the era with perfection but the girls just meander through life and despite the fact that they are living in this extraordinary time, they are wholly unaffected.

I have to confess I did not finish the book. I abandoned my efforts about 3/4 of the way through and decided to move on. Maybe the ending is amazing. But I wasn't going to waste another minute of my life to find out.

Book Group Verdict: One woman loved it. Not so much any one else. But we had a 40th birthday to celebrate so who could be bothered to talk about a book that was such a waste of time.

1 comment:

Sue Dickman said...

Frankie and Stankie is autobiographical--novel as memoir. I'm a huge fan of Trapido, but this is not her strongest work. If you haven't read any of her other novels, go with those. My particular favorites are Temples of Delight and Noah's Ark. Four of her earlier five novels have overlapping characters, which also make them satisfying to read. Don't give up on Trapido because of this one book.