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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Episodic Sludge, February 5, 2002
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This review is from: Black Oxen: A Novel (Hardcover)
There are some good things about this novel. Specific episodes in the book take off and you find yourself burning 15 pages to find what happened. Some of the characters are interesting and unique. The construction is episodic with story lines cut and pasted like reading a painting from the cubist school. Chunks of the story are cut out and displaced into other parts of the story, creating a disjointed reading experience. This might have been a successful artistic technique if it weren't also weighed down by a huge cast of characters, so large that the publisher had to print a whole listing before you get to the first chapter. To complicate this, some of the characters are known by different names which also change depending on the timeline that is also cut and distributed throughout the story. To comlicate this, characters go from being homosexual to bisexual; so you have to identify who it is, what name they're going by, and whether they like guys or gals at the moment. In short, this book is extremely confusing. Knox needs a new editor; this relationship did not work well. Here are some examples of how the story didn't follow through for me. There is a whole segment on how a girl loves her horse. So, of course, two characters feel it's their mission to find the elusive horse and dismember it. They get naked, hack up the horse, bury it, wash in a stream, one guy tries to seduce the other only to have the other one try to kill himself, then the girl shows up, they get out and a flood comes, the dismembered horse floats by, and the story line is dropped. What's the point? To complicate these matters, there are secret societies whose members are unidentified. At one point, the characters are at a funeral. Rather than being affected by the sorrow in the scene, I was trying to remember who it was that died and what her relationship was to the people at the funeral. At the end, someone tells Carme that she's a mother, but I could never figure out who was speaking. After this book, I felt like I needed a study group to figure out what went on. Unfortunately, for all its promise, the read is not worth the effort.
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Black Oxen: A Novel
Black Oxen: A Novel by Elizabeth Knox (Hardcover - July 5, 2001)
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