Friday, November 21, 2008

Joplin's Ghost by Tananarive Due

Title: Joplin's Ghost
Author: Tananarive Due
Pages: 477
Rating: 20% Rule
Spoilers: Yes, but not a lot

Synopsis (Part of Inside Cover):

When Phoenix Smalls was ten, she nearly died at her parent's jazz club when she was crushed by a turn-of-the-century piano. Now twenty-four, Phoenix is launching a career as and r&B singer. She's living the life young artist envy and seems destined for fame and fortune. But a chance visit to a historical site in St. Louis ignites a series of bizarre, erotic encounters with a spirit who may be the King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin

I formulated the 20% rule while trying to decided if I wanted to try and continue on reading this book. I think that Tananarive Due is a talent writer, but there is something about the way this story is written that just bugs me. It seems (a least to me) that Due has a problem with transitioning from one writing style to another. When the story opens up Scott Joplin is in a mental institution, at this point in the story the writing is sort of engaging and is very fluid. But after the background of the story is over things fall apart. Due has a problem with integrating urban culture and terms with her own writing style. It seems forced and unnecessary. I think that she could have over come this issue if she had separated the characters (mainly Phoenix) thoughts from the third person narrators. Sometimes the two seemed to overlap. I don't if I am making any sense. It is kind of hard to explain.

The other problem that I had was that in the 91 pages that I read I couldn't formulate a relationship with any of the characters. The only story that seemed interesting was Joplin's but by page 91 it was apparent the cause of his death, and therefore the downfall of his career. In 91 pages Due was not able to make me care what relationship Phoenix and Joplin would have and what mayhem the haunting could cause.

Overall, I found what portions I did read of the story rather dull.

If you want to read other reviews (more positive ones) I have a link to the reviews here: Joplin's Ghost

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this book and was able to connect to the characters pretty quickly. I know what you mean, though. If I can't find a way to see the protagonist's perspective or if I just don't care what happens to them, I will put it down.