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Glorious infodumps

The most exciting parts of the whole not-very-good novel I recently finished (see "telegram" and "magazines in chemists") were the info-dumps. They were gloriously, fantastically mismatched to their scenes, in such a well-intentioned way, that I kept hoping for more of them. (I sort of wish there had been far more of them than there were.)

They had their flaws, such as when the heroine, musing on how very old a barn is, observes that "This barn was a century old before most Europeans even entertained the idea of the world being round and land existing across the ocean to the west."

But here's my favorite. The heroine and hero are succumbing to their passionate attraction/lust for each other. They're solving a mystery together. It's around midnight and they're alone together. And he invites her back to his rooms to read some journals, part of the investigation. It's the first time that she's been in that wing of his excessively (and impractically) large house. She is astonished at the modernness of this wing of the manor.

(In case you'd forgotten, please do remember that they are succumbing to their passionate attraction to each other. You might have forgotten.)

And he says, "Yes, this is part of the remodeling my father did. To function efficiently in today's economic climate, an estate needs to be modern in both its management thinking and techniques as well as its offices. This estate is comparable to a combination large farm and large ranch in the States as we raise both crops and livestock. So, this is the heart of the business end where we have the computers and machines along with other devices necessary to a highly diversified working estate. And then there are the other business functions that do not relate to the day-to-day running of the estate such as the investments, rental properties and other holdings."


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
What red-blooded woman could resist?
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
Are you going to reveal the title and author of the book at any point? Because it sounds like a wonder to read.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC)
I'm willing! I was being coy about the title so as not to detract from the points of the earlier posts (plus, not necessarily assuming anyone else had read it), but now I've given you actual excerpts.

Shawna Delacorte, The Sedgwick Curse.

It was not unreadable - I read it - but rather quickly I was reading in hopes of blatant flaws (rather than mere repetitiveness) and only a vague curiosity about how the plot turned out. I've given you the worst of the flaws of setting the novel in England, however. The rest of flaws of flat characterization and a tendency to break up the flow of any events which happened with a (metaphorical) tin ear for mood. Almost any time someone is murdered (by persons unknown), the hero feels fantastic because he has, through the truth of stressful circumstances, established greater closeness with the heroine.

There were other moments of interest though. At one point, the hero feels 10x better than he had. A few pages later, he feels 100x better, but it is not explained if this is 100x better than before, or only 10x better than when he previously felt 10x better. I care about the mathematics of relative improvement, apparently.
Sep. 6th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)
Have you read In the Georgian Household? She reckons Mr Darcy is doing just this mind of thing in his courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and points to lots of courtship letters that basically boil down to : I'm secure and can manage my future.
Sep. 7th, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
No, haven't read it. At least, not yet.

I have every sympathy with the content of what's being conveyed here. it's the style which seems entirely out of place. And if the hero is just prone to talking that way about his property regardless of context, it would have helped to, at *some* point in the novel, show him using that tone of discourse in the context of estate management, But we never actually see him working.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC)
Another exciting thing about it! I never knew from paragraph to paragraph when a conversation was going to end. Because the conversations did not have clear structures. It created ongoing suspense!
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Also, I would be willing to bet that I have never read a book which so overused the word "shiver". A couple of times on most pages. It's not *quite* worth the effort to actually count though.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
ooh i think i need a lie-down now!

Sep. 6th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
All this and a 4,000 year old barn. You so need to treasure this book.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
I shall give it lovingly back to the library so that other people can discover the delights that it offers.
Sep. 6th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
Does England have libraries?
Sep. 7th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Perhaps not since Boots closed down its lending libraries.
Sep. 6th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
It needs a pink bow.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Actually, I had a date not unlike that once.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
I think you should be exposed to "Vets at Cross-Purposes" which seamlessly (sic) combines romance with critique of European agricultural and veterinary policy.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Oooh, that almost sounds exciting!

And, I observe, that the only copy in my local library system is currently checked out.
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear...
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Ooooh! Talk dirty to me! how could any girl fail to be excited by an excessively large estate and a lot of electronic hardware...

(It probably does not help US writers that the Wiki page for 'mansion (defined by US realtors as any property large enough to possess a ballroom) opens with a photograph of Waddesdon Manor - if ever a property was mis-named...)
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
It is a house with more than 60 rooms! Some of which the hero has not entered in years! And he currently lives there mostly by himself, except for the very large staff.
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
To function efficiently in today's economic climate, an estate needs to be modern in both its management thinking and techniques as well as its offices.

And yet he communicates by telegram? Oh well, I suppose it’s always wise to be backwards-compatible.
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
No, the visiting American is the one who sent a telegram. He received it. And he has a cell phone!

No wonder she's impressed with the newness of it all, now that I think about it.
Sep. 6th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
Sep. 7th, 2011 06:50 am (UTC)
Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.

This really reminds me of the worst aspects of teaching creative writing. The author is male, I'm sure. I think the worst info-dumps I read were always male and sci-fi/fantasy - presumably the latter because there is so much explanation required in world creation.
Sep. 7th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
Given the prejudices of the Romance genre, a female name is certainly no indication of actual gender.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )