Friday, May 30, 2014

The Transcriptionist - Amy Rowland [DNF!]

Rowland, Amy. 2014. The Transcriptionist. North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
Rating no star whatsoever!
(not going to review this in Indonesian, 'cause who cares anyway?)

The Transcriptionist

I received this via NetGalley, but I wish I didn’t.

I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful douchebag because, well, I did requested it in the first place, and I didn’t finish reading it. Seriously, I had tried really hard to, at least, finish it. I even didn’t expect to be able enjoying the story anymore, I JUST WANTED TO FINISH IT.

Just now, I peeked reviews of this book in Goodreads... and shocked. I saw MANY glowing reviews about The Transcriptionist. Almost all the people that have read this, praise it. And now I get hesitated about my own brain capacity. The thing is, this book is constructed by supposedly ‘smart’ and ‘deep’ words and lines, and the author inserts some supposedly interesting facts and details (that BORED ME TO HELL). I felt the author just tries too hard to impress, really. And to be honest,

Let me tell you why this book was interest me enough by giving you the blurb from its publisher.
A stunning novel told with the same gravity as Nicole Krausss History of Love. This powerful debut follows a woman who sets out to challenge the absurdity of the world around her. Lena, the transcriptionist (recently, I had a chance to experience this job, and I have my own opinion about being a transcriptionist, so I was curious what this book was going to say), sits alone in a room far away from the hum of the newsroom that is the heart of the Record, the New York City newspaper for which she works (I devoted my time in my campus press for 3,5 years and was totally enjoyed the journalism atmosphere through and through, and I thought this book was perfect because I also wanted to know about the newsroom activity in NYC newspaper). For years, she has been the ever-present link for reporters calling in stories from around the world. Turning spoken words to print, Lena is the vein that connects the organs of the paper. She is loyal, she is unquestioning, yet technology is dictating that her days there are numbered. When she reads a shocking piece in the paper about a Jane Doe mauled to death by a lion (so, this kind of explains the cover with newspaper-silhouette-lion, and I became quite excited about the thrill that I hoped this novel will provide), she recognizes the woman in the picture. They had met on a bus just a few days before. Obsessed with understanding what caused the woman to deliberately climb into the lion's den, Lena begins a campaign for truth that will destroy the Record's complacency and shake the venerable institution to its very foundation. An exquisite novel that asks probing questions about journalism and ethics (at this point, I was really eager about this book because it seemed to talks about ethical journalism which I’d happily devoured), about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language, it is also the story of a woman's effort to establish her place in an increasingly alien and alienating world (I thought I would relate to this finely).
You see? I have some great reasons to request this. I started reading it with a little excitement, but this book just lulled me to sleep EVERY THREE PAGES! The story starts with narration about how boring and static Lena’s job as a transcriptionist is, which I can imagine. It’s understandably frustrating if your job is to listen other people’s word, repeat it in your head and exactly transcribe it. Every effing day. And, just like Lena in this novel, when I was transcribing, I also couldn’t stop my brain from commenting or complaining the words I hear while listened to the recording. It’s boring. When I got myself easily bored at Chapter 1, I could tolerate it because that chapter is where the boring stuff is described. But, do the next chapters are less boring than the first?

I actually want to look smart and wish I can explain which parts or which characters that failed to impress me, but I simply can’t. Because this boring-ass book didn’t leave ANY impression to me except its high level of boringness. Note, I gave up and stopped reading at page 67 out of 247, it’s only 26% of the book and not many characters emerged so far, maybe just 4 or 5, but still, every time someone different came in the picture, that I should be remembered because they’ve been introduced in 2-3 pages before, I was...

The author writes it with this slow, static, calm pace uses Lena’s ever-flat ‘voice’. Even when it came to the beginning of the main point of the novel (well, I guess), where Lena notices that she recognizes the dead woman in the paper, I couldn’t feel any excitement for this novel. I seriously didn’t want to add this into my DNF list and I just wanted to get over it. I tried read it page by page, dragged myself slowly... until I couldn’t give a damn anymore.

The good thing is, every time I tried to read this book, after 2-3 pages I would TOTALLY asleep. Beside an early bedtime, what did I get from this novel?

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