Children of Paradise by Fred D’Aguiar
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
A young girl is terrorized and mauled to death by a gorilla. Other children are watching. Her mother is devastated. Other people are shocked and horrified. A teenage boy turns his own mother in for disloyalty. A charismatic preacher resurrects the dead child before the eyes of his followers. They are amazed. The gorilla is sorry. I don’t care.
Far too much tell and not enough show. The POV switching is choppy and I think the passive voice adds to the woodenness of the characters. The device of no quotation marks around conversation can sometimes be used to good effect, but here it just adds to the confusion and lackluster.
And I know that now I’m just being picky, but the gorilla could not have been captured near the commune. The commune is in Guyana, South America, and gorillas are native only to Africa. That’s too bad, because the gorilla shows more emotion and analytic thought capability and overall personality than any other character.
Perhaps I’ll try some of D’Aguiar’s poetry, as some of his descriptive passages are evocative. This novel, though…no. Abandoned.