Karen Memory, page 43

Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

I don’t often post updates, but I decided to do it for this book, because it seems so controversial to me.


Page 43

Started reading, and frankly, I’m not impressed. It’s an American steampunk story: Seattle, the end of the 19th century, with lots of mechanical gadgets, gangsters, and whores. So far so good, and the plot seems absorbing, but there is a problem: the story is written in the first POV of its heroine, Karen, a whore.

First: I don’t really like whores. Second: the language of writing is that of Karen: uneducated, with lots of slang and other crude vernacular, not just in her dialog but in the entire text. For me, it’s translated not into authenticity but into a narrative full of mistakes, as if the editor of this book wasn’t allowed to do her job. I might have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t using Karen’s mutilated English. But I’ll go on reading, see if the story quality would override my aversion to its mode of expression.


Note: Please, don’t ‘Like’ until the full review, although I’d appreciate your comments. Do you think it’s OK to write a book in slang or dialect? I don’t. It never worked for me before, and I’m not sure it’ll work for this book.