I was excited about reading an award-winning novel by a new Canadian author (or at least an author I had never personally heard of), but to be honest, I don’t think I would have finished reading Sitting Practice by Caroline Adderson if it hadn’t been an Early Reviewer copy. I got stuck in the first third of the book (the setup before and immediately after the accident)—I found the characters stilted and almost caricatured. The middle of the book (which is actually the section called “End”) is more engaging; the characters are fuller and I was intrigued with the story of Iliana’s emerging sexuality post accident, which I felt the author dealt with very compassionately. Unfortunately, the momentum of that section didn’t carry through to the end, which fell flat, in my opinion.
Writing the novel from the point of view of a multitude of characters worked to a point: it is always fascinating to see the same characters/incidents through different sets of eyes. However, it can also make a novel feel unwieldy, with the plot spinning out in too many directions, which unfortunately happens to some extent here. I also felt that the device of using the wedding as an anchoring point in the novel, returning to it over and over again, didn’t add anything to the story, as it brought about little character development or plot movement. Overall, the novel disappointed me; the ending felt too pat, considering how hard it was to get there.
For other reviews of this book, visit these blogs:
1morechapter.com • carp(e) libris reviews • I Smell Books • Mermaids
(First posted on LibraryThing on March 4, 2008)