Sunday, October 12, 2014

Binu and the Great Wall

I really wanted to love this book. Binu and the Great Wall sounded like something I would really enjoy, and it is part of the Canongate Myth Series, a series I've been enjoying for years.  But I also had a feeling I was going to be disappointed.  I try not to let other people's opinions influence me when it comes to books.  Since I joined Goodreads, I've seen what more people think of a book than ever before.  Even just a glance at the average star rating lets me know what the overall feeling towards a book has been.  Binu and the Great Wall does not have the best average on Goodreads.  I tried to put it out of my mind.  For the most part I did, until a couple chapters in.  Then I knew.  Binu and the Great Wall was okay.  It wasn't terrible, but it didn't excite me, didn't blow me away, didn't make me eager to pick the book up everyday. 
Binu and the Great Wall is a retelling of The Myth of Mengfrom China, written by Su Tong, a bestselling Chinese writer.  It is times like these that make me wonder if my feelings towards the book are because of the translation or if the original read this way also.  There's no way for me to know.  Su Tong has written award winning fiction, he has a good reputation.  I had hope for Binu.  I think my main problem with the novel was the title character, Binu.  Her choices were just crazy.  She couldn't control herself.  I understand that this is based on a myth and I'm guessing some of what is written falls in line with the myth, but still, her choices were a little too unbelievable.  Her motivation for everything she does is her love for her husband, but her choices could still have been better.  I know main characters in novels often go through terrible hardships before they reach their final goal and that the ending is not always happy (I just read Animal Farm after all), but it wasn't evoking the sadness and empathy I think it wanted.  Binu and the Great Wall is an easy read.  It flows well, so it didn't take me long to finish, I just wish I could have liked Binu more.

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