Friday, December 4, 2009

UNFINISHED FRIDAY: The Invisible Mountain, by Carolina de Robertis

The Invisible Mountain, by Carolina de Robertis. Published 2009 by
Random House. Hardcover.

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I won an advance reader's copy of The Invisible Mountain in a Random House promotion and I was pretty interested in reading it, especially after hearing great things about it on the Books on the Nightstand podcast, of which I am an avid listener (and you should be, too!).

It's an intergenerational story of three women- mother, daughter and granddaughter- in an Uruguayan family, starting with Pajarita, an herbal healer who marries a charismatic Italian, and continuing through her headstrong troubled daughter Eva and Eva's daughter Salome.

Overall it struck me as a rather mediocre book that felt like it was written quickly and driven by over-familiar tropes- the put-upon wife who finds liberation through a community of women, the drunken husband, the abused young woman and the magical healer. And how many books have we read this year about herbalists? The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, Sacred Hearts, The Year of the Flood. And these are all really good books- superior to The Invisible Mountain, to be sure. Maybe if I hadn't read it right next to these, better, books, it wouldn't have bothered me so much.

I put the book down about halfway through, partly because I lost my copy and partly because I was bored and didn't feel like looking for it. It's not a bad book as these things go; it's interesting enough and competently written, and it will appeal to many readers. In fact, as I was reading, it struck me as one of those books almost tailor-made to be marketed to book clubs and readers for whom buzzwords like "intergenerational" and "exotic setting" and "story of women" both resonate and motivate. And that's me, to a certain extent. But the magic didn't quite happen for me this time.

Like the idea behind Unfinished Friday? Want to do your own and link back here, so we can all read each others'? Starting next Friday let's give it a go!

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.