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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm reading a thriller right now which was highly recommended by my son, but I'm having a difficult time getting into the story.  The book has something like 700 pages; I've made it to about page 75 and I still can't see how the characters tie together, or even keep track of all the characters being thrown at me.  To complicate matters, some chapters go from present day to WWII.  I don't mind a story that goes back and forth between time periods, but this one has not established in any way WHY I will need to know about these people fighting in WWII or even who they are.

My son assures me that this is important and it will all tie together eventually, but I feel that I need a bit of encouragement from the author NOW, by page 75, that I will soon know what all this is about.

I realize that the author is trying to keep me in suspense, but if he does it for much longer I'm going to pass, despite my son's glowing recommendation. 

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing?  Am I crazy to expect some kind of context for changing time periods and point of view?

Or am I, as my son sarcastically suggests, "not concentrating hard enough?"  (Though I don't see how further concentration will help me through this quicksand plot).  :)

Julia
 

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Julia444 said:
I'm reading a thriller right now which was highly recommended by my son, but I'm having a difficult time getting into the story. The book has something like 700 pages; I've made it to about page 75 and I still can't see how the characters tie together, or even keep track of all the characters being thrown at me. To complicate matters, some chapters go from present day to WWII. I don't mind a story that goes back and forth between time periods, but this one has not established in any way WHY I will need to know about these people fighting in WWII or even who they are.

My son assures me that this is important and it will all tie together eventually, but I feel that I need a bit of encouragement from the author NOW, by page 75, that I will soon know what all this is about.

I realize that the author is trying to keep me in suspense, but if he does it for much longer I'm going to pass, despite my son's glowing recommendation.

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing? Am I crazy to expect some kind of context for changing time periods and point of view?

Or am I, as my son sarcastically suggests, "not concentrating hard enough?" (Though I don't see how further concentration will help me through this quicksand plot). :)

Julia
Sounds like Cryptonomicon. (Might not be, of course, but that book also bounces between WWII and present day.) The way I'd approach this is to accept that the author bouncing between time periods for a good reason and expect the divergence to resolve. If it doesn't, I'd query your son's taste. I wouldn't expect resolution until 1/2 to 2/3 through the book, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's actually THE REDBREAST by Jo Nesbo.  I thought I'd like his stuff because I enjoyed Stieg Larsson so much and an article I read compared the two writers.  So far it's a tough slog.

However, based on your advice, I'll keep plugging away.  :)

Julia
 

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scarlet said:
actually, you may be concentrating too hard. relax and believe that it will all make sense in the end.
I agree. Enjoy each storyline and scene for what it is. If the scenes are not that engaging, then that's a different problem.
 

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Basilius said:
Sounds like Cryptonomicon. (Might not be, of course, but that book also bounces between WWII and present day.) The way I'd approach this is to accept that the author bouncing between time periods for a good reason and expect the divergence to resolve. If it doesn't, I'd query your son's taste. I wouldn't expect resolution until 1/2 to 2/3 through the book, though.
Funny. I was thinking the exact same book ....
 

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Two time-zones - pah, that's nothing! Check out David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas... Actually, seriously do check it out, it's a great book.

I haven't read Cryptonomicon but think I may have to.
 

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StaceyHH said:
LOL you guys, I was thinking Blackout, by Connie Willis. I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall.
I just finished reading Blackout and All Clear a few weeks ago. While they bounced around a lot during WWII (and, in fact, drove me pretty crazy in that regard) they really didn't bounce out of WWII very much.
 

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Basilius said:
I just finished reading Blackout and All Clear a few weeks ago. While they bounced around a lot during WWII (and, in fact, drove me pretty crazy in that regard) they really didn't bounce out of WWII very much.
I think I'm not going to make it through. Is there a payoff if I keep reading? I know some books are hard to get into, and I'd be okay with all of it this if Blackout is one of them, and I just have to hang in there a little longer.
 

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I don't mind changes in the time period as long as there is some idea how they are related. If the present-day story is interesting, but the historical part drags on with no apparent relevance, I stop reading the historical part and just go with the present day. I don’t care much for historical novels in general.

Mike
 

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StaceyHH said:
I think I'm not going to make it through. Is there a payoff if I keep reading? I know some books are hard to get into, and I'd be okay with all of it this if Blackout is one of them, and I just have to hang in there a little longer.
I felt the books were a bit too long and repetitive. That said, the last third of All Clear does have a payoff, and it's a very good conclusion. I found myself reading the early sections of All Clear a lot faster than typical for me.
 

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LOL, the last third of thesecond book has a payoff? I have to read 950 pages before I get to the good stuff? *faints* I think I'll cut my losses. Thanks! I feel better about abandoning it now. :D
 

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StaceyHH said:
LOL, the last third of thesecond book has a payoff? I have to read 950 pages before I get to the good stuff? *faints* I think I'll cut my losses. Thanks! I feel better about abandoning it now. :D
If I hadn't been reading it for the purpose of voting on the Hugos, I would not have read All Clear. I do think the ending made the grind worth it, though.
 
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