Friday, October 1, 2010
And I had such high hopes for this one, too: "The Strain" by Guillermo del Torro and Chuck Hogan
Five hundred and eighty-five. That's a number. It's a big number, too. Numbers in the English language often start with zero and go up from there, although there are many situations in which you may be faced with a permutation of this general rule. However, here, now, in this situation, one will take "five hundred and eighty-five" at face value. It means that there was not one thing, not two things, but many, many things, all busy being things at the same time. This is caused by an eclipse.
And that's how all five hundred and eighty-five pages of my paperback copy of "The Strain" were written, except when the authors--Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, both of whom should know better--were busy attempting to figure out how human beings talk; all of their attempts were unsuccessful, although after awhile they finally decoded the mystery of the contraction. I recommend we not even mention their attempts to capture "ghetto Latino" and "Goth rock poser"; not for nothing does the San Francisco Chronicle deem the novel "terrifying".
There's an eclipse. This is an omen. We get to hear about its ominous omening in stilted prose from the point of view of every single person in Manhattan. This takes roughly 300 pages. Meanwhile, a dark plane has landed, a guy survived the Holocaust, and we're introduced to several one-dimensional characters we will gradually come to care nothing about. Del Toro and Hogan never decipher the age-old writer's rule "show, don't tell," nor do they unravel the conundrum presented by the concept of "subtle foreshadowing".
THERE'S AN ECLIPSE. OF THE SUN. BUT IT'S LIKE AN ECLIPSE OF MANKIND, SEE.
So things happen, people die, the English language weeps and levels charges of domestic abuse.
Read This Instead: Actually, just go outside and stare at a tree for a few hours.