The Muse - victory! and what came next.

Finally finished...

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Yes! Thank goodness, the tale of this reading experience does have a happy ending. If you saw the last post in which I discussed this book, you will know that it took me a while to get into it. In fact, the first mention of this book and my life appeared in this Instagram post from over a month ago...

But, finally it took root. The story blossomed with each word that I read and before I knew it I was hooked - dedicated to the characters, desperate to know how everything would be resolved.

The three decade span of the story adds an extra element of interest - different time periods means a more complex history and double the delectable imagery - there is a lot of talk about clothing styles!

I also found the plot to be more intriguing and less predictable than that of The Miniaturist, but, sadly, the ending left me with a very similar feeling of dissatisfaction.

I don't mind it when authors avoid the well-rounded, disneyland ending, where everyone gets what they want and lives happily ever after. In fact, I usually prefer it when they do because, as we all know, that is just not real life, but I do feel that the story should still feel finished. The events of the story should come to an end that feels natural and the last words of a book should leave the reader with a mental picture of what they have just read that is devoid of gaps or blurry bits.

Jessie Burton does a better job of this in The Muse than she did in The Miniaturist, but I was still left feeling a little confused and uncomfortable. The ending felt too abrupt, too incongruous, maybe, to the rest of the story - which took ages to unfold.

Another real barrier that I encountered while reading this book had to do with the fact that the author, who is white and British, was supposed to be conveying the perspectives and innermost thoughts of a black, Caribbean-born woman living in London in the 1960s. Although, Burton has obviously done her research in an effort to remain both honest and respectful, I just generally tend to take issue with white authors writing from the perspective of someone from another race or culture. 

I just think that it is almost impossible to accurately portray something that does not inherently belong to you, and it opens the door for, at best, misunderstanding and misrepresentation and, at worst, stereotyping and racism. That, however, is a very complex issue - probably best left for another time, or a face-to-face discussion, if you should so wish.

Overall, a much more developed read than The Miniaturist - I felt - and a storyline worth the time that was invested, but I'm still not a Burton convert and I think it is going to take a lot to motivate me to pick up her next book.

Next up.....

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


With the new film coming out, this was an obvious next read. Cannot wait to see how it turns out.

Note: Since I started writing this post (about a week ago) I have already finished this book. Now THAT is what you call a 'page turner'.



Popular Posts