Ladivine by Marie NDiaye [Book Review]

Ladavine was such a strange book.

It was written with such poetry and yet the information was so dense upon its pages that it easily felt twice as long. And not in a bad way, but it was a slow read. It evocative of One Hundred Years of Solitude if only because this story spanned four generations.

And yet, despite the talented writing style and the deliverance of some decent family drama, I didn’t love it. It was just okay.

I found all of the women (from the top: Ladavine, Malinka (Clairise), Ladavine, and Annika (well with maybe Annika as the exception) to be doe eyed, for lack of a better way of putting it, stupid women who just seemingly go along with whatever transgresses in their lives. And when they do care they are selfish, disconnected and generally bad parents.

Each generation thinks they are different but end up falling into the same, what seems like, family curse. These are tragic women in every sense. And the whole last quarter is just weird. Truth be told, other than this be a generational story, I’m not sure what this book was really about.

The author does grasp the meniality of the day to day in such a startling way. I just feel like the book had something to say, some theme to project, and I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe it that life isn’t great and we can’t help reliving the lives of the ones before us. It’s that the book itself doesn’t feel like it has any life.

This book may easily be someone else’s favorite but I am not that person. Regardless this will be one to stick in the mind for a long time to come – on that, it succeeds.

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