It is a rare book indeed that I can’t make it through. There are some books that I start and put down, but mostly for reasons of disinterest or poor workmanship. The Rainbow suffered from neither of these. Instead, I simply could not put up with the seemingly endless vacillations of the characters, the souped-up description of all that they thought, and the plodding storyline. All these things are Lawrence’s style, and it is a style that I just couldn’t stand.

In some ways, this did not surprise me. I’ve never been that fond of description. I favor dialogue, then plot. A book in which action and character are made manifest through dialogue usually ends up as a favorite of mine; books with lengthy ruminations on the beauty of the landscape, in which the author tries to be both poet and storyteller, annoy me. I don’t dislike characters that have trouble making up their minds–such is life. I do dislike novels in which that is the only point of the book.

Maybe I missed something. Maybe I’m not mature enough for this book. Maybe in ten years, or twenty years, or more, I will come upon Lawrence again and my viewpoint will have radically shifted. These comments here, then, stand as a benchmark for that future date, to remind me of how absolutely dreadful I thought this book was.


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First Impressions Copyright © 2016 by Glen Engel-Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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