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Exciting Times (2020)

von Naoise Dolan

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2691978,962 (3.26)30
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Worth reading for the writing—and it is very short. But yes, the main character is insufferable, and the story curve (I hesitate to call it a plot) is contrived and unbelievable. ( )
  breic | Oct 16, 2021 |
There is nothing “exciting” about “Exciting Times,” by Naoise Dolan, other than the title. This is one of the most boring books I have ever read, and I read a ton of books every year. The story line is a good one, but never lived up to that potential. The book is heavy on narrative, thus it reads like Dolan is telling the reader a story instead of showing it to us. I wanted to see the action, not simply be told what happened. More dialogue and character development would have helped.

The book was extremely slow to get going. I almost ditched it early on. Finally, the last few chapters picked up, but too late for most readers. There were times I did not even want to pick the book up and continue reading.

None of the characters were likeable. Ava is an immature young lady incapable of making even the simplest decision. She does not know if she is in love or not. She does not know what she wants for dinner. She is like a dead fish, floating downstream in the river of life. She makes the lives of those around her as miserable as she is. She is an enabler who allows others to use and abuse her.

Julian is a total jerk. He uses Ava, and she lets him do so. I could not stand him at all.

The characters lacked decent development. Julian barely speaks, so we never know what he is really thinking. Therefore, it is impossible for the reader to get to know him. Ava is so indecisive the reader never knows her well either.

The story as a whole lacked conflict. If there is no conflict, then the reader does not care either. The only potential conflict was when Edith met Julian and that went so well, it was not believable.

I was most disappointed by the ending (or lack of one). I realize every book does not end on a happy ever after note, but this one has no conclusion. I would have liked some closure at least. Maybe the author left it vague hoping for a sequel.

I’m just glad the book wasn’t 100 pages longer as it would have wasted even more of my time reading it. ( )
  dwcofer | Sep 25, 2021 |
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021
  Paraguaytea | Sep 25, 2021 |
It's not badly written but I gave up on this about a third of the way through because I found it very boring in a very familiar way. It sometimes feels like the exact same character is narrating every book marketed as ground-breaking millennial fiction, no matter who the author is, and it all starts feeling very samey after a while. ( )
  Clare_L | Sep 20, 2021 |
Found this book by looking for "if you like Sally Rooney...". And indeed it reminds me very much of the style and mood of Normal People. After my usual fare of romance novels, I kept waiting for some kind of turn around on the part of the male lead, Julian – some growth or learning experience! or for Ava to see that someone else nearby has more warmth in his big toe that Julian – another learning experience.

Yet of course, every now and then, like you would hope of beings with warm blood in their veins, Julian says something that reveals he is human, possibly caring even, that touches me as much as it does Ava.

.... Once Edith entered the story my attention flagged as, despite their flaws, Ava and Julian interested me. Their emotional distancing – emotional inhibition? – it was desperately sad and maladjusted.

Loved the Hong Kong setting, the examination of
the poorly paid Ava and the well paid Julian,
the ghastly social set they hung out with,
their relationship with family, and
the sexual partnership without any of the other things that go with a connection such as meaningful communication or affection.

Ava's emotional deprivation is more obvious than Julian's, though you suspect he experiences some. ( )
  Okies | Aug 31, 2021 |
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Durchschnitt: (3.26)
0.5 1
1 5
2 7
2.5 3
3 13
3.5 7
4 17
4.5 3
5 6

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