Ever since You Are Eating An Orange. You Are Naked. by Sheung-King was on the Canada Reads longlist, I have been intrigued. The title alone gets your attention. This is a quick read (or listen) coming in at under 200 pages and I had high hopes for it. There are things I really liked about it and then there are things that I didn't really like which explains my middle of the road rating.
This novel is character driven. It is about a couple in a relationship and as they travel to different cities and countries, they tell each other stories of their lives, folk tales or random stories they've heard. We are never told their names and only get glimpses into who they are from the narrator and the stories they tell, so the character development happens, but it happens at a turtle's pace.
The writing style is simple with some interesting patterns. I enjoyed the way food was used and the way the reader is drawn into the story, witnessing the couple but not intruding, The female character is a bit more mysterious which was an interesting element. I can't say that I cared for her. Sometimes the way she treated the man was horrible and if the roles were reversed, it would be understood quite differently.
Their topics of conversation are interesting: gambling, purpose of life, love and marriage, and cucumber sandwiches as metaphors. The stories were often reflections about their own relationship, but I'm not sure I always got that.
I was not a fan of the last section of the book and it is the reason the book didn't get a four star. I kind of lost interest and the ending didn't pull me back. I liked enough about the novel to be interested in reading more from this author, but for me this was just an average novel, overall.
This debut novel lets us know that Sheung-King has talent and we need to keep an eye out for him. I think he has potential to give us some amazing stories.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛