BOOK REVIEW: The String Quartet

A unique review. From a novel.

Editor’s note: From time to time, I send out invitations to send me books. A day earlier this year, ‘The String Quartet’ arrived in the mail.

-Rob Brown

The story is the thing.

The first half of The string quartet is a slower paced jog and change, with a few stops along the way for meals, and more. The final third is a stunning mix of terrific pacing and storytelling, high-flying turns and shuffling. I understand that I am dealing with a translation here.

The last 100 pages are excellent. The first 180 should be cut from 60 or 70 pages. Leaner and cleaner. Nastier.

I always prefer an opening with a cut in a scene halfway through – not setting up a la The Canterbury Tales.

My problems are not difficult with The string quartet – the first half is dense dense dense. Formatting is sometimes non-existent on the page. Press return.

For example – when it’s a two-handed scene – you don’t need to say and show and say who is speaking on each line. Words do. The voice performance of the two talking characters will do.

Oh so torn. Most races need a cut. But still, it’s great. The table of contents hooked me. Strikes me as a solid piece of literature. An established couple character – okay. Now, who here is the smartest?

80 pages – the work is too thoughtful. Get off the horse from the setup and questions and drive the car. Heavy text. Dense presentation. Intense worry. Intense story. Dense pages. Very Kubrickian. Sometimes for a novel that is not the end of the world.

The second half sees the voice acting more deductive, less didactic, more of a finger-tap take on the story’s wild stallion.

The voice is not unrelated, still almost uncertain – but not the characters though. The characters all start strong – then get lost in the middle.

After an intriguing start and the author defined the world – so bring the presentation and the plot. The author seems uncertain trying to understand a little.

I kinda like that – but that’s overwhelming, it always seems there for the first half of the novel.

Going to the second half and building to the end…it’s great.

The second part is a revelation. Still needs a translation cut. But it’s not going anywhere.

Once Jos Langens The string quartet slaps in the plot, pacing and reading and it all picks up in a big runaway train.

The musicians and the author no longer play the paper, they are in the pocket.

The end is preparing for a The comeback Where Cell type of Stephen King vehicle.

Solid. I didn’t see that coming. 40 pages to browse. It takes up the language of the plot, the mechanics and the writing. Tighter. Pleasant.

I love and appreciate when genres intertwine. You have two, three or four at the end of this one.

A beautiful end.

Langens lands the tricky, tricky plane he took off in. Once the story gets where it’s going, it’s truly original and impossible to see coming.

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