Edna Ferber – So Big

4cdbe03ae7a018ed02f9f110.LWell, the first thing I have to say about this winner was that it definitely was a book. I read every word of it, and I have decided that it qualifies as a novel. It has all of the component parts, characters, setting, plot, conflict, climax, resolution. It is consistent in character, some of the characters change. Some stay the same. The actions and dialogue are all very believable and sound fluid and natural. At one point I cared about how it ended, and it ended exactly the way I wanted it to. With all of that said, I couldn’t have cared less. Edna Ferber writes very securely. She says exactly what she means. Although her meaning is superficial and very out in the open, it is amazing that this won a pulitzer. The first point is that it isn’t a bad novel, it isn’t a good novel though. It is definitely a novel. I enjoyed reading some it. Some of it I couldn’t be done with sooner, mostly the ending. The ending was meaningless. I must have missed the boat when they covered the idea that the ending doesn’t have to be significant in any way. I wrote a book, and I am not saying that all of the drama, conflict, and tension need to resolve on the last page that gets old. But there has to be something. The last page added nothing to the story unless I am missing a great deal. It was the last thing I read. I will give it that. There should have been an epilogue or something to explain what happened. Not that the action was complicated. Dirk goes back to his apartment and his Japanese servant gets his clothes ready. That is all. I just didn’t understand why that was the last thing I read. Again, I will say it was an ending. The last sentence was in fact the last sentence therefore it was an ending. But I clearly didn’t get whatever it was Ferber was trying to do.

Anyways, I am glad that book is over. Well, I can’t say that, that would give the impression that I had some sort of feeling to that book. I liked Selina DeJong, which is exactly what Ferber wanted me to do, so she succeeded there in creating a main character that was extremely likable, but she tipped her hand the entire way which was really disappointing and left you really doubting her writing ability. Just because I agree with an author’s worldview doesn’t automatically make them a good writer in my eyes. Sometimes that makes it more difficult on them if anything because I am really watching closely what they decide to do. Anyways, Ferber isn’t a bad writer. It takes some considerable skill to weave a novel together that is coherent and thematically consistent, that has very believable characters and really fluid dialogue, but overall I wouldn’t read anything else by her because she didn’t make me care.

New Pulitzer winner was announced as Drew has covered extensively on his blog and twitter feed, so congratulations Jennifer Egan for your winning work A Visit from the Goon Squad, it sounds fantastic, although I won’t know until a year from now. So I am looking forward to it if this ambivalence doesn’t crush my willingness to read. So I am on to Tinkers which sounds equally amazing on a rainy day in April.


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