I don’t do typical book reviews. There is always a story attached to them, because honestly, it’s been my experience that internal and external factors weigh into any appreciation of art.
With that said, I read JM Tohline’s The Great Lenore as my first e-book ever on my Kobo. I downloaded it months ago on my home computer, but found reading a book on my home computer just wasn’t for me. For Christmas I got the Kobo Vox (that’s the Canadian version of the Kindle Fire). I was anxious to finally be able to get into The Great Lenore , and I started over from the beginning.
What a ride! First, I will admit I had a hard time following some of the story and had to flip back a few pages to figure out where I was. Whether this is because A) It was in a new format for me, B) I was going through some health issues or C) it really just wasn’t written as easy-to-follow, I’m really not sure. But at this point, I’m giving Tohline’s skills the benefit of the doubt and blaming the lack of focus on a mixture of the two first points I mentioned.
The writing is beautiful. The tempo is beautiful. I don’t want to call it poetic because poetry often needs to be dissected to be understood. The Great Lenore is beautifully written and in its own way poetic without being ostentatious. I think that’s the best way to describe it.
The opening line traps you in.. Without knowing what the book was about, (and for a while, had me thinking it was a ghost story) it gave me the sense of excitement and a secret. It lied to me without lying, as do a lot of the suggestions throughout the book which keeps the flow of suspense constant without being in-your-face.
This novel is beauty. Beauty in writing. Beauty in the world. Beauty in the beautiful and in the ugly parts of the human experience.
On a different note, as I closed the book last night and was about to drift off to sleep, I thought about Lenore. There’s just something about Lenore. Which made me think of the movie “There’s something about Mary”. Then I compared the two and came to the conclusion that JM Tohline’s Lenore, is the equivalent of a much more sophisticated and elegant version of the cult film’s Mary. There’s just something about her that makes you want to keep on tracking her story.
I recommend you give it read, especially as a winter novel.