Neither Half Life nor Brida appealed to me. I actually did not finish either of these books. They were both extremely strange. Half Life is fantasy, a genre I dislike. I can never truly picture what the author is trying to impart. Brida is just weird. I like magic, but this is too out there.
Half Life is set in a world somewhat similar to our own. The most blaring exception is that due to nuclear explosions the world has a population of conjoined twins large enough to have their own lobby groups. Nora no longer wants to share her body with her conjoined twin, Blanche who has been in a state of unconsciousness for over twenty years. Nora wants to have Blanche surgically removed so that she can live life without the burden of her comatose sister. I thought that this sounded like an interesting premise for a book so I picked it out of our lending library at work. I hated it! The writing was convoluted. The plot was difficult to follow as Shelley Jackson tackles too many ideas and is trying to make heady philosophical points. Jackson adds in strange prose that has no purpose. Nora’s character was extremely unlikable. I could only read about a hundred pages when I decided it was time to give up. Jackson, you had a good idea, unfortunately it was poorly executed.
A colleague was passing around Brida. My boss read it and commented multiple times that it was a strange book. The jacket description sounded interesting to me, as I usually love books with magical themes. I wrongly presumed I would enjoy this read. Brida is a story about a young Irish girl, Brida who has a special gift. She is a witch. I only read to about page fifty as I became too frustrated with the bizarreness of the subject matter. In the few pages I read, Brida is drawn to a forest where, Magus a teacher of things mystical leaves her alone on a rock to learn her first lesson. This experience annoys Brida, so she finds another teacher, a middle-aged woman named Wicca. Magus was a teacher of the Tradition of the Sun, whereas Wicca is a teacher of the Tradition of the Moon. (Yes, I know what you are thinking. What the hell is Tradition of the Moon/Sun?) Something happens with tarot cards and the telephone. Wicca explains to Brida that through the telephone people with gifts can experience magical things. A few pages later Wicca takes Brida on a far away journey where she begins to hallucinate. At this point, I had to stop reading. I did not understand what was happening. It was too off the wall, eccentric, peculiar. (The list of adjectives could go on and on.) What is this touted as acclaimed, even brilliant author, Paulo Coelho freaking writing? I read some of the reviews on goodreads. I’m glad I stopped, as the book seems to get stranger and stranger by the page.Goodness, two awful books in less then three days. Oye! Both of these books were completely unreadable!