Night Beach

Night Beach - Kirsty Eagar Oh, this book frustrated me. The writing (the physical, lyrical arrangement of words on the page, that is) was beautiful. I wish I could give it 5 stars just for the writing. But the actual plot - well, was there even a plot?

There was something about a supernatural thing, some (evil?) being that was hinted at the whole time and then BAM! something weird would happen, but I was never sure how, or why, or even what exactly was happening in these moments. Everything else throughout the book was so beautifully described - why not the transitions from "normal" to "fantasy". I just couldn't work it out. In fact, I think I would have been happier with the story if the supernatural element was entirely removed - although that would have left the story as a rather more bland "artist girl is obsessed with boy" teenage drama, and the writing deserves more than that.

Melina Marchetta wrote a blurb for the cover, and this seems fitting to me for the prose was equal to, if not better than her own writing, which I adore. However, where Marchetta triumphs hugely over Eagar is that she takes simple, unconfused plots and turns them into something magical, so that you feel as though you're reading a fantasy but it is still firmly anchored in real life. This book was almost the opposite.

In terms of plot, however, I will give her props for not changing the characters. The ending could have been a disney-happy thing where Kane realises from his experiences that he treated Abbie badly and falls in love with her; fortunately Eagar gave him a far more realistic arc by letting him sink into denial and anger, and allowing Abbie (who was, to my delight, not a complete moron) to finally let him go.

I did want to know more about Hollywood, who was probably my favourite character. Maybe Eagar will write another book, a not-quite-sequel where the plot becomes as important - as coherent and beautiful - as the prose, and Hollywood is a main character. I can only hope.

NOTE: I kept getting distracted by needing to check online for images of the mentioned artworks, so I decided to put them here, in sort-of order of appearence:

Henri's Armchair by Brett Whiteley
The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street by Georgio de Chirico
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Dorothea Tanning