Pages: 76 / 262; 29%
The Reason for the Reaping: Perhaps one of the most divisive books in the Tournament of Books 2017, Sudden Death is getting mixed reviews. It’s out of the tournament for good as of now, but let’s check it out!
As I Lay Summarizing: A bunch of random anecdotes and vignettes held together by tenez, tennis. A rather intense match played in 1600 between a poet and a painter seems to be the running thread. Metaphors, lessons, and weird trains of thought abounce. Don’t worry, I already hate myself for that pun.
The Line That Killed Me: “But the only real things in a novel are the sequences of letters, words, and sentences that make it up, and the paper on which they’re printed. What they produce in the reader’s head are private and unique landscapes of objects in motion that have only one thing in common: they don’t exist” (4). Death by the true meaning of language and novels.
Best Character: Teresa
Why [As] You Like It: Enrigue is giving a great fake history lesson. I’m a little too lazy to google for accuracy, but the 1600s tennis match, and everything that spins out from it (haha), sounds like a fun time. The plethora of tennis trivia and extended metaphors about it makes you think about the game in a very different way. If you even think about it at all. Well, you will now. Example: Tennis = resisting sin. Lovely.
Why I’m Gone, Girl: There are passages where Enrigue is speaking of his own crafting of the novel. Sure, they are about tennis (how meta), but there is a feeling of being ripped away from the overall arc. A flowing and atmospheric jaunt through the 1600s on one page and tart email transcripts on the next don’t mix well. Game, set, not so much.
Last Line, Last Chance: “…her smile almost gentle, as if this imagined world weren’t a feast….”
Will I turn the page, or toss it into Mount Doom?
While Enrigue’s vision and wit are showcased nicely, inserting himself into the novel ultimately breaks the magic. I’m setting this one down. PS I’m extremely proud of the amount tennis puns I packed into this post. You’re welcome.