This novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997 which is how it made its way on to my stack of to-be-read books. I usually like the books which make the Booker lists – in fact some I love. Sometimes, however, I think the judges get it wrong. I was less than impressed with the 2009 winner which won despite the authors total disregard for the rules of grammar…although a couple of the 2009 short listed books were amazing (I’m thinking specifically of The Children’s Book and The Glass House). I don’t really understand how Europa managed to make it to the short list in 1997, but I suspect it was Parks’ unusual (albeit annoying ) style which consists of stream of consciousness, run-on, circuitous sentences.
Europa is a novel about Jerry Marlow who is traveling by train from Milan to Strasbourg and reflecting on his less than satisfactory life. Marlow is rather misogynistic, as well as arrogant – and it is this, along with his drawn out reflections, which eventually got me to toss the book aside. I just didn’t like Jerry. Not at all. And I got tired of his “voice” and his endless, circular thoughts.
My final thoughts – don’t waste your time.