Unfortunately, this is another book I finished for two reasons only: a) I always finish a book. b) I felt a moral obligation to do so.
The problem with “The Third Day” is that it tries to do/show a lot of things in parallel and doesn’t succeed in any. Take two people dissatisfied with their lives; a depressed agnostic widow and a faithful scholar. Their lives basically change over night due to a spectacular discovery; building the story up from this, describing the protagonists before their, let’s say, departure, is where the author succeeds – it’s believable and interesting.
*** WARNING *** Spoilers ahead *** WARNING
From that point on, though, things spiral down: The widow and the scholar basically exchange their roles and beliefs; while the former turns into a fervent believer, the latter becomes a fanatic closet-opponent. Even if we simply accept this process (which at least in the scholar’s case is not really believable at all), the means this is achieved by are ridiculously annoying – enter a time traveller. A well-known antagonist, disguised as a time-travelling scientist, tempts both our “heroes” and succeeds in one case and partly in the other. While I do understand the author’s motivation and the idea, the implementation is tiresome and doesn’t really fit with the characters as sketched out up to the respective point in the story.
No important spoilers from this point on ***
Most of the remainder of the book is basically a rather naive re-narration of the New Testament (NT) – with a strong artistic licence in some parts. This is what annoyed me the most – I’ve read the Bible, thank you very much, and I really don’t need to re-read the NT in the words of some novelist and with a strong focus on the more “spectacular” parts, skipping the more seemingly “boring” but important parts – and, in the process, spending a lot of time telling the reader where Jesus and his disciples are going.
If you want to write some kind of religious novel, please have the decency to choose religiously important parts and expand on those. If you just want to write an interesting historical novel, please don’t mostly re-narrate but boldly take more liberties and write what *you* think is important.
If you, dear reader, want to read a very interesting albeit controversial religious novel, give “The Shack” by William P. Young a try. Much more ambitious than this one – but Young actually pulls it off while Graham bit off way too much.
This is a nice, quick read and serves well as a (very short) introduction to the two protagonists, an engineer and a slightly flippant, well, whatever Bartleby is.
Of course, this is a short story at best and I would have wished it to be a bit longer but it’s certainly entertaining even though it felt a bit like fast food – good but it leaves a tad bit to be desired and a slightly guilty pleasure.
I might buy a complete anthology of James and Bartleby but certainly not individual stories – there’s just not enough substance to justify that if all stories are as short as this one.
I really hoped to like this book because the author gave me the ebook for free. This was nice, Robert, and thanks for that again.
Unfortunately, I really didn’t like this book for quite a few reasons. First of all, it starts extremely slowly – the entire first third mainly consists of annoying quarrelling between stereotyped characters:
– The snobby English lord and lady, – the pious preacher, – the American adventurer and his suffering wife.
One would expect to get to know them pretty well on more than 100 pages but, alas, they never rise above the cliché and don’t develop at all (which they won’t for the entire remainder of the book).
At their destination, they’re joined by an elderly clairvoyant (more esoteric nonsense to follow), the obligatory ghostly figure and the hotel detective.
Not only are those characters stereotyped but they immediately jump to all kinds of conclusions: The lord and his lady are quick to judge and as quick in coming to yet another wild idea about life, people and everything. The pious preacher hates them all (and, in a sideline of story which the author seemingly completely forgot about at some point, is involved is shady deals for the greater good) and won’t let them forget about it.
The adventurer and his wife basically swing between hating each other and trying to mend their marriage. Not that the reader would care because both are completely unlikable.
Meanwhile, the pompous, self-righteous, superstitious hotel detective will meander between suspects for the “Murder at the Ocean Forest”, enlist the help of the clairvoyant and, after way too many pages, will eventually solve the mystery which an experienced reader will have done at about half-way through the book.
Why, I hear you ask? Because anyone who has read “classical” mysteries will have read it all before by way better writers. This completely overrated book has obviously been strongly inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and other famous authors. (Christie is even mentioned in the book…)
Agatha Christie, by the way, could have done this in half the length and with twice the suspense.
Vorab: Obschon ich zumeist eher Romane oder auch eine gute Novelle schätze, mag ich auch gute Kurzgeschichten. Jedoch ist es wichtig, daß letzteres Format sich wirklich auf das Essentielle beschränkt. Das ist im vorliegenden Fall leider nicht gut umgesetzt.
Inhaltlich ist der “Kindle Killer” eher schwach – die Geschichte beginnt nett erzählt, muß jedoch überstürzt beendet werden, da der Autorin offenbar die Umsetzung der Grundidee schwer fiel. Sprache und Schreibstil helfen leider auch nicht, den “Kindle Killer” im Gedächtnis zu behalten (ich erinnere mich im krassen Gegensatz zu dieser Kurzgeschichte noch sehr deutlich an eine Kurzgeschichte von Ambrose Bierce, die ich vor über 20 Jahren einmal las); beides ist deutlich unterdurchschnittlich.
Eine gute Kurzgeschichte sollte zudem nicht vorhersehbar sein, sonst verliert sie leicht ihren Reiz. In diesem Falle gab es leider nur einen denkbaren Ausgang und der trat natürlich auch prompt ein. Leider waren aber in der Tat nicht nur das Ende, sondern auch viele Einzel-Elemente der Geschichte altbekannt und somit in keiner Weise überraschend, neu oder gar aufregend.
Erschwerend kommt hinzu, daß es wohl keinerlei Lektorat oder Korrekturen gab – das Buch wimmelt von Rechtschreib- und Grammatikfehlern, was mir zusätzlich übel aufstieß.
Liebe Liv Olson, das war eine gute Idee mit interessanten Ansätzen. Leider ist die Umsetzung nicht sehr gut gelungen. Daher von mir nur ein Stern.