Sunday, January 29, 2017

Boris Akunin's The State Councilor

I enjoyed reading the first book of the Earst Fandorin series a couple of years ago, and was eager to read The State Councilor, but I was greatly disappointed by the novel.  Fandorin is overshadowed by several other characters, and at times his main contribution seems to be standing quietly while things are happening to/around him.  He doesn't seem particularly clever or insightful, and certainly doesn't rise, in this novel, to the level of a character with a series named for him.  Part of the problem might be that the novel itself seems neither carefully plotted nor interesting.  I kept reading it because I assumed that something incredible was about to happen in the pages ahead.  I thought that was starting to happen as the baths episode unfolded, but it never actually did.  Not only was that episode improbable, but it also seemed like Akunin had rushed to finish it.  The result there, as in other parts of the novel, was that it felt hastily completed.

It is possible that the novel was more nuanced in Russian, and the translation didn't capture subtleties throughout the novel.  Fandorin's final act in the novel might, for instance, have seemed more clearly set up in the original language.  In this translation, it seemed almost unrelated to the rest of the novel.
In the end, The State Councilor is pretty pedestrian stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment