October 17, 2011

Warning: Big Fat Waste of Time...Mostly

The Egyptologist
Arthur Phillips
Novel of Correspondence/Mystery/Audio-Book

Another Audio-Book guys, but this one was disappointing for me after listening to a gem like Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. The Egyptologist is told in a series of letters and journal entries - the journal from the early 1900s, and letters from 'present' day.

I was a little bit skeptical about the book having several narrators, but that was before I knew the book is told as a correspondence. As it turns out, it worked out very well that way: An Englishman for the 'focus' character, an Australian as the Snoop, and an American for the Bostonian girl. 


It was boring. 3/4 of the book consists of boring over-detailed journal entries from the main character who is engaged to said Bostonian girl, daughter of his financier, and is on a 'dig' in Egypt for an Ancient Egyptian King who may or may not have existed. This man is both annoying and slightly insane (progressively more-so throughout the book). I found myself looking forward to the 'Snoop's letters. You know from the beginning that he starts out looking for a man who has gone missing in order to give him a large inheritance, and ends up stumbling onto a double murder. The mystery is who died and how. I wasn't sure who, or how, but I had a hankering feeling - hoping there would be a twist from what I expected, though I was right. Maybe that is part of the reason the end didn't justify the means. Perhaps if I didn't know what was going to happen at the end, I would have enjoyed it more. The ending was carefully put together.

Also, I liked the girl, though she was an opium addict. Her narrator's voice was very interesting. Like she was hiding an exotic accent. Also, the Snoop being Australian was pretty neat. Not too often I get to hear that :-)

All in all, I wouldn't recommend this book. It is pretty long for a standard fiction book, and the payoff wasn't worth the time. As an audio-book it wasn't so bad, but near the end I almost couldn't stand the insanity of the English-guy. Good Lord. I think the author probably could have made it 200 pages shorter with no consequence. Eh, at least it's over now.


Erin said...

I listened to The Song is You by Phillips a couple of years ago and was bored, too! I listened to it for a book club, so I slogged through, but I wouldn't have continued otherwise. It had potential, but the execution was seriously lacking. Sounds like Arthur Phillips is an author I'll pass on in the future.

-E- said...

was it a single reader doing all the accents?!

Emma said...

There were actually three different narrators. I didn't like the English guy, and he read over 3/4 of the book.