Readers, I think I’ve finally picked up a novel that I can confidently call The Worst Novel in the World. Yes, the whole world, not just the English-speaking world, as this stinkfest wasn’t originally written in English. Ah-ha, I hear you saying — maybe a bad translation is the culprit. But I assure you, this novel was skit with a capital S before the translator got hold of the manuscript.
So, are you ready? The title of Worst Novel in the World goes to …
This (I hesitate to call it a book because that would be too complimentary) long string of words has been on my Kindle for Android for about a month. I love reading mysteries and thrillers before bed; doesn’t everyone like dreams filled with intrigue and homicidal maniacs? Instead, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had the opposite effect on me. I’d get through two Android pages (that’s like 25 words) and my eyelids would droop. After a couple nights of this, I considered downloading The Book of Common Prayer, which not only is better written, but more gripping.
Seriously, I can’t believe that an editor in Stockholm picked up this manuscript from the slush pile, read through it without having to prop her eyelids up with toothpicks, and decided to offer the author an advance. Even more shocking, I can’t believe this book has been on every bestseller list under the sun, although awhile ago, I’ve come to accept that my standards for engaging literature stray wildly from hoi polloi standards. (Ah a snob, you’re thinking — not really. Hey, I still get a little thrill in my belly when I see the latest issue of British Hello! on the newsstands.)
If you haven’t read The Worst Novel in the World, you probably want to know what’s awful about it. My pithy response would be
everything, but specifically, it’s filled with page after page of boring exposition — long chapters that detail family history and descriptions of what the lead character ate during the day spent in his remote cabin in northern Sweden. When I complained to my friend Linda, who finished the book, she told me I could look forward to the author’s turn-by-turn descriptions of the streets he walked in Stockholm, as well as lovingly detailed inventories of Ikea products in certain characters’ apartments. When I finally did reach a description of a character’s home, I decided that reading an actual Ikea catalogue would be more exciting for the simple fact that a. it has pictures and b. you can order stuff from it. It was at this point that I started reading all the 1-star reviews on amazon.com, which complained about how horridly the women in this book were treated. The Swedish title for this novel translates into “Men Who Hate Women,” but I suggest it should have been called, “Authors Who Need Editing” or “Editors Who Hate Blue Pencils.”
I gave up on the Worst Novel in the World after a particularly long chapter detailing a family history, followed by the main character’s walk up the road to his benefactor’s mansion, where he announced, “I don’t understand your family’s history. Can you explain it again?” (I may have shrieked “OH NO!” at this point, awakening my husband next to me.) At any rate, I forgave myself for spending $5 on the Kindle edition of this book, and bravely watched the Swedish version of the film (English subtitles), which was actually pretty good and confirmed that I’d figured out the plot early on in the book.
Then I went to the library and checked this out:
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, baby. You know this book is going to keep me up at night.