[E-book. Published in 2012 by Arcade Publishing]
I picked up this book solely on the pretext that it combines the styles of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Haruki Murakami to become an astounding work of magical realism. ‘A Floating Life’ reminded me a lot of ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ in many respects, but I failed to see Gabriel Garcia Marquez in this work.
This unnamed narrator flits between scenarios in a haze of amnesiac confusion. The desire to change jobs, a wife who has left him, dealing with erectile dysfunction in the throes of middle age all come to the fore.
Perhaps this is simply not the style of book I am used to reading, but I failed to really see or feel the common, underlying link that brought the story together. No matter how much I wrack my brain, I am overwhelmed by how disorientating the storyline became. The alleged genius of the book is lost on me. I am, however, always hesitant to publish a negative review on someone’s work. At no point in the book did I consider putting it down, conquered by it. There are some really lovely elements to it, the messages and images that endure through the confusion that make me truly glad I persevered to the end – the very unique depiction of the brevity of life, regret, tenacity, survival. The image of the model ship shop, The Floating World, and his interactions with Pecheur were powerful and moving.
And so I walk away from this novel with some very fond thoughts on certain elements. Maybe I just didn’t get it…