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Common Ground de Naomi Ishiguro
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Common Ground

de Naomi Ishiguro (Autor)

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1111,391,361 (3.5)No n'hi ha cap
Títol:Common Ground
Autors:Naomi Ishiguro (Autor)
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Common Ground de Naomi Ishiguro

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Having much enjoyed Naomi Ishiguro's debut collection of short stories, I was was greatly looking forward to her first full-length novel. In 'Common Ground' she brings us a tale of an unlikely friendship between 13-year old Stan and 16-year old Charlie, literally meeting on the local common. Stan lives with his mother, his dad having died the year before, and he struggles to fit in and is the victim of bullying at school; Charlie is a free spirit, a Traveller and - as such - also an outsider. The first part of the book is set in 2003, and we then jump forward in part two to 2012, where the two meet up again by accident, only to find this time that their situations have been reversed. Stan is now a confident postgrad student, while Charlie struggles to keep down a job and is in a sticky marriage. Can the two friends find a way to navigate the future?

So, in theory, it looked like a good book to delve into: lots of issues of friendship, being an outsider, race in modern-day Britain, and so on.... But, I just felt a disconnect from the beginning. Part One felt and read at times like a YA novel, and it didn't improve much in Part Two, although some of the scenes would be a bit too heavy for YAs. Unfortunately, I just didn't believe in the likelihood of the friendship in the first place - it just seemed artificial, a 16yo befriending a 13yo in the way it works out. And as the book went on the 'message' was, well, not so subtle. What I found worked in the short story collection was totally absent here; there were no subtle metaphors, or quiet allusions to meaning. Here, you get The Message very bluntly spelt out to you. This is what the moral is. And now I'm going to tell you again. And again. And, sadly, it became quite tiresome. There surely must be space for the reader to make the connections, space where what is unsaid is more powerful than what beats you over the head, where a scene in part 2 that mirrors something that happened in part 1 is not explicitly pointed out to us ('like déja vu or something' we are told).

The idea is worthy, and at times there are flashes of the lyrical potential that Ishiguro displayed in 'Escape Routes', but it was just way too obvious in hammering home the 'moral of the story'. I look forward to seeing what Naomi Ishiguro comes up with next, but I'm afraid this was just a slightly disappointing 3 stars. ( )
  Alan.M | Apr 20, 2021 |
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