Friday, November 16, 2012

The Girl - Sonia Faleiro

Sonia Faleiro can write, alright. Her prose is luscious, ripe, full of delicious images. Having read the first few pages, you're willing to let yourself sink into the book, its evocative rendition of a rich green rainy Goa - a Goa the average tourist never gets to see.

The Girl is about, well, The Girl. In fact, it is so obsessed with The Girl that it begins with her funeral. A funeral that is secretly watched by two men who are in love with her. They're both wondering the same thing - why did she commit suicide?

Faleiro sets up the novel well - a suicide-mystery to be solved, an interesting set of characters, a great setting in the Village of the Dead.

But that's about it. She errs in not having enough meat in her story. She depends too much on her writing, on her images, on the atmosphere.

Which may be why, halfway through, the book starts to grate. The descriptions are fine and all, you think, but how long will unlikely things keep melting/bursting/ripening? Can't things just stay the way they are supposed to stay? Tell us the story, dammit!

I had the sense that there were a lot of strings that Faleiro could have explored further - The Girl's relationships with her on-and-off boyfriend Luke and her friend Simon; Simon's mother Lula; the mysterious disappearance of the village priest. Maybe Faleiro just got sick of The Girl and wanted to finish the book quickly, just like reader does half-way through.
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