Monday, May 27, 2013

'The Misremembered Man' by Christina McKenna

Official Summary:
The Misremembered Man is a beautifully rendered portrait of life in rural Ireland which charms and delights with its authentic characters and gentle humor. This vivid portrayal of the universal search for love brings with it a darker tale, heartbreaking in its poignancy.

The Review:
When the cover of the The Misremembered Man by Christina McKenna flashed up on the Kindle's screensaver two things happened:
  1. I bought the book based on the interesting title and pretty cover and;
  2. Amazon's ad executives had another reason to pat themselves on the back for orchestrating another successful attack on my wallet.
If you'll notice, at no time during the buying process did I stop to read the book description, check the genre or read any of the existing reviews which, at least in this case, may have stopped me from grabbing up the title in the first place. That would have been my loss. More to the point, if I'd read the severely cut down, vanilla description above I wouldn't have even given this title a chance mainly because it screams 'boring'!

Now literary fiction isn't usually my thing anyway - in fact, it's usually my experience that titles with more interesting descriptions than this one can result in some frustratingly mind-numbing stuff. And don't think for a minute that when I finally got around to cracking open The Misremembered Man  and realized that it was a staunch member of the dreaded literary fiction camp that I didn't contemplate cutting and running onto the next title on my list.

This desire to move on was amplified by the adjective laden opening chapters. Thankfully though, the overly descriptive style of the first few pages is tampered down once the stage has been set and the stories of both the weathered, rough-edged Jamie, and the spinster Lydia begins. Centered on each of these characters search for companionship using the classifieds section of the local newspaper, McKenna adeptly weaves in a poignant critique of the church and their gross abuses of children in the Irish orphanages in the 1930's while introducing some truly colorful characters along the way.

Bottom Line: Pick up The Misremembered Man if you have an interest in cultural books about Ireland, love this genre, or you liked titles like A Friend of the Family or Mariana, (although, in my humble opinion, this title is leaps and bounds better than either of those). Avoid it if you're searching out romance or humor as this title is really has very little to offer in either category even though the too short summary would lead you to believe otherwise.

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