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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Time is the Oven

Time Is the OvenTime Is the Oven by Richard G. Sharp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a tale of a young Missourian coming into his own in the years following the Civil War. The book spans a couple of decades from his first wanderings as a callow youth, through various romantic relationships, his friendship with Frank James, and his ultimate success while working on the Panama Canal. Vast in scope, this is an ambitious novel told with wit and historical detail.

"Told," unfortunately, is the key word. Most of the book is narration, with little actual scene. While the narration is insightful and often funny--I even laughed out loud a couple of times, a rare thing for me to do with a book--it lends a certain distance between the reader and the plot.

This was frustrating because I could see the great book trying to break out of the constraints of the good one. The author overly explains everything, when in fact he has the skills to show us far more effectively. I hope in future volumes the author gains confidence to put us right in the scene instead of simply narrating everything.

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