I finally finished Theodore Roszak’s Flicker: A Novel on Thursday night and as I posted on Twitter, it’s not quite the worst book I’ve read this year.
I think what appealed to me about the book initially were the similarities between Flicker and one of my favourite books – The Book of Illusions: A Novel by Paul Auster. Both deal with reclusive characters from the movie industry who have mysteriously disappeared (or in the case of Flicker, died) and a protagonist intrigued by their story. Throw in a mysterious religious conspiracy and I should have been hooked.
Unfortunately Flicker read like the unwanted love child of The Da Vinci Code and a turgid dissertation on film history. Even the ‘twist’ was a non-event and although I have yet to give up on a book, it was touch and go with this one. Not that it’s badly written or even a bad concept, I was just waiting for something to happen and it never really did. Basically, it started off slow and then tapered off from there.
To give it at least some benefit of the doubt it’s a long, slow paced book and a lot of the novels I’ve read recently have been fast paced, and short. Still, even though I was expecting a 608 page novel to have a fairly slow burn (and I often enjoy books where “nothing happens”), this one never really intrigued me enough to care what was going on. The strange addition of some ‘cut’ scenes at the end of the book just added to an underwhelming ending.
Now I have to decide what to read next – at the moment Remains of the Dead by Iain McKinnon is top of my list. I enjoyed the first in the series (?) – Domain of the Dead and it could be a welcome antidote to the seriousness of Flicker. But…I also have dozens of other books that are all equally tempting.