Evil by Diane Bell, book 11 of 52

I’m feeling very torn by this reading endeavour. At the Adelaide Festival Writer’s Week in March this year I spied this book ‘Evil’. I have long been a fan of Diane Bell the Anthropologist – her ‘Daughters of the Dreaming’ is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating accounts of ethnographic fieldwork with Aboriginal Australians I have read. She is also a great friend and advocate to the Aboriginal people of the Ngarrindjeri tribe and the River Murray, which is in environmental peril.  

Seeing a fictional work of Diane Bell’s I had to buy it. It was one of those spur of the moment buys – usually something I end up regretting doing as I’m not a successful impulse buyer normally. I was swept away by the mood of the speakers tents and the vast sea of fresh, crisp books for sale; or perhaps I was desperate to get out of there as it was so crowded and busy, but felt I needed something to show I had set foot in Writer’s Week. A little bit about my experience of Writer’s Week. I’m a fan, but rarely have a chance to spend any quality time there. It is phenomenal to have such close access to some of the most imaginative and clever writers of our era. I was not able to be there the day where my favoured authors were speaking, Audrey Niffenberger for one. I missed Richard Dawkins, but wasn’t concerned about that as I have yet to read anything he has written. I did happen upon the end of the Sarah Dunant talk, and she made me cringe at some of the sweeping generalisations she made in regards to life for women in the medieval era. It is too long ago and I can not remember the detail of her talk, perhaps I shouldn’t even bring it up, but it did annoy me enough for this little rant. Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt and actually read one of her books.

Well I digress from my review. I need to be honest and come straight out with it. I could not finish this book. I wasted reading 7 books in order to try and get through this book. Initially I was quite excited by the format, however, I soon found it becoming repetitious and not really developing into anything interesting enough to grab my imagination. The frustration that the main character was having in working with a system that was weighted against her, seemed to parallel my relationship with the story.  The characters blended into a homogenous group of those who were oppressed by the system in which they worked, to those who were the oppressors. Perhaps it was just me and where I am at in my life now, working and studying in an academic institution. However, I did think that this would make the book come to life even more for me.

I’m afraid I can’t even give you a story synopsis as it is all just a hazy blur to me now, as my resolve was to give it up and not waste anymore time on it. So I have completed another book in that time, that I really enjoyed and is subject of my next review.

Readability 6 out of 10

Cant put down rating 5 out of 10

Recommend to others 5 out of 10 – ( I tried to pass it on at my Book Club, but was terribly unconvincing)

Do I want to read another book by this author – yes, only non-fiction based on her anthroplogical work.


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