Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Solitary, Constrained Life: Asunder by Chloe Aridjis

Marie works as a guard in the National Gallery in London. Although most guards are older, often retirees, Marie is young. She's been working as a guard in galleries since she dropped out of university. It's all she wants to do. She comes by the desire through her great-grandfather, who was also a guard in the gallery and narrowly missed stopping a suffragette from taking a knife to Venus, one of the gallery's masterpieces.

On a trip to Paris with her best friend, Daniel, her world starts to unravel. Although she isn't sure where she's going, she begins to walk away from her past.

If you like character studies, you'll enjoy this novel, otherwise, it gets a bit tedious. Marie doesn't do much but contemplate the paintings and try to keep her life as constrained as possible. I did find the descriptions of the visitors to the gallery and the life a guard fascinating, but it wasn't enough to make me recommend the book. The writing is at times mesmerizing, but in the end the lack of plot and a rather dull protagonist makes the book easy to put down.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.