The Naked Island

by Bryna Wasserman
ISBN: 1552636380

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A Review of: The Naked Island
by W.P. Kinsella

Another delightful cover is wasted on this dog's breakfast of a novel, full of self-indulgent, pretentious, Creative Writing 101 nonsense. The set up is promising, with ancient spirits connecting with contemporary humans, and the novel narrated by an Ontario man who committed suicide. The main character is Rachel Gold, a young Ontario woman, rich, spoiled, and somewhat ditzy. She has a worthless, druggie boyfriend who may or may not have betrayed her with her sister, which is enough for her claim that she has stopped speaking, but there is no evidence that she ever shuts up. I can see the author's brain working, saying, I've traveled all over so let's get some literary use out it.' Rachel travels to Israel, Egypt, Italy, then to India, Nepal and on to Singapore, where the story really begins as she meets and falls in love with a hotel clerk named Kifli Talib, a Muslim. They eventually move on to Australia, but at this point the novel falls apart with endless, repetitive scenes of their tepid lovemaking, and struggles to defeat or embrace a spirit that sometimes occupies one or the other. The novel might be subtitled How a Spooky Rich Girl Spent Her Daddy's Money on Travel. There are lots of meaningless semi-poetic phrases, and intentional ambiguities, making the novel impossible and confusing. Time moves forward and backward, and the ending, which may take place at some point in the future, is completely ambiguous. The pretentiousness goes on after the novel mercifully ends. Four record-breaking pages of Acknowledgments list over 100 people as having had something to do with the writing of this sub-mediocre first novel. I have published over 30 books and I couldn't find more than a handful of people who deserve thanks for my whole career.

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