Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I do have to admit that I didn't really think much of this book after reading. However, I came away with a satisfied feelings towards it. It's difficult to explain, really. I harbor no ill will, nor do I feel any strong passion to lobby for it, but enough about my inner turmoil. I Capture the Castle tells the story of the Mortmains and the world they live in as told by Cassandra via her journal. It's an interesting perspective, and it gives the feeling that she is writing to the reader in particular. Whatever she knows, thinks, and feels is laid bare on the pages. The plot seemed basic at first, but managed to draw me in anyway. All of the characters were reasonably fleshed out, and I generally seemed to like them...or at least tolerate them. However, there is one aspect to any plot that I absolutely despise. To put it simply, it's any sort of "cheating" or infidelity. It irritates me to no end due to its cliched nature, and I see it as the "easy conflict" (a.k.a. when the writer has a romantic couple and can't think of any other type of conflict therefore he/she takes the easy way out with unfaithfulness). Unfortunately, this book is guilty of it. In its defense, I can't judge it too harshly since it was most likely the book that started the cliche in the first place (written in 1948). To sum it all up, I would say subtlety is its most prevalent strength (that's rather oxymoronic wording isn't it?). From its deliberate pacing to its tendency to completely absorb me into its inner workings, I can honestly say I enjoyed it, more so, after I'd finished it. It doesn't rely on shocking plot twists and doesn't try to wow and astound. The mundane fascinates until it no longer becomes mundane. I award I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith 3 stars.


Review by Alisa Heskin

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