Tuesday, November 8, 2011

book review: Crawling at Night by Nani Power

The backstory: Crawling at Night was longlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize.

The basics: Ito is a sushi chef who works with Mariane, an alcoholic waitress. Both are haunted by their past: for Ito, the life left behind in Japan, and for Mariane, the daughter she chose adoption for fifteen years ago.

My thoughts: As someone who both worked in restaurants full-time for several years (and met  Mr. Nomadreader while working together at the same restaurant) and has a fondness for food, wine and city life, I expected to love Crawling at Night. It is certainly a novel of urban despair, and I'm not generally one to shy away from bleak novels. I wouldn't, however, have chosen to read this one during the read-a-thon had I known just how bleak it was. I finished it, but it effectively killed my reading mood.

Crawling at Night is written with a haunting beauty. It is raw and gritty. It may make many readers uncomfortable at times. Its characters are unlikable. While typically I don't have a problem with these things. In this story, it was simply too much. Perhaps I needed more characters to spread around the grim realities of their lives. As I read, I kept wishing it were a movie. Somehow watching these people would have been less bleak. Sharing their sad internal thoughts was discomforting.

The verdict: Crawling at Night is a raw, dark, difficult novel, but it is certainly one with merit. It didn't fully resonate with me, but I admire what Nani Power tries to do with it.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 240 pages
Publication date: April 9, 2011
Source: library

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  1. I am intrigued by the way you describe this one. Raw and gritty have never bothered me, although I do find that there are times when I am better suited for those types of books. It sounds like this was a bit of an uneven read for you, and I am not sure what to make of that cover. What is that thing next to the belly-button? A bug, a leaf? I am just not sure...about anything!

  2. It sounds like an interesting premise, and I'm futher intrigued by your reaction to it. The next time I'm in the mood for dark, I'll give it a look.

  3. This sounds like a book I'd like. Dark, raw and gritty. Love that in a book.

    What is that cover of, though? I even made it bigger and still can't tell what it is. Sort of looks like sushi on a woman's stomach. LOL. Is it?

  4. @Zibilee and Ti - yes, it's sushi on a woman's stomach! I much preferred the hardback cover of the library copy I read.

  5. Interesting... errr... cover art.

  6. There have been a few times I read a book and thought a movie version would be better lol. I'm still having trouble with my reading "mojo" lately do I think I'll stay away from thi for now!


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