by David Szalay

At a time of the year when it feels like full-on hibernation might be coming to an end, a novel entitled Spring gently hints at being just the ticket to get us all into a brighter mood. Or so you would think.

boom book reviews - Spring by David Szalay - cover image

James is obsessed with Katherine; but Katherine still can’t get her hubby photographer out of her mind. James appears mildly annoyed by this, but nothing more.

As a distraction of sorts, James buys part of a race horse. The part he buys isn’t that great right now, but he’s told it has potential. What it does do is open up a rather seedy side to the world of horseracing. But maybe Katherine will be impressed by his recent purchase, then again maybe she won’t.

Some other stuff happens, but really, life is too short to go into any of that.

Spring is Szalay’s third novel and if nothing else, should be used as an example that if he can get a book published, anyone can. This is simply a rambling mess.

Firstly, there’s no structure to the story. It just doesn’t go anywhere. At best it plods. His main protagonist is the beigest of characters, despite leading a somewhat exciting life as an entrepreneur. But as anyone who has seen The Apprentice will know, that means diddly squat. The journey James takes is about as exciting as taking a walk down to your corner shop, that just so happens to be next door.

And then you have the characters. Not only are none of them memorable, Szalay, through the most tedious dialogue, makes them all non entities. It’s even really difficult to hate them as they just don’t stir up that amount of passion to do so. It’s like being trapped in a dinner party with the world’s dullest guests. The love interest Katherine is so wishy washy, you’ll soon wish very bad things upon her. But nothing. She’s confused and doesn’t know what she wants to do; the thing is , you’ll soon end up not caring about what she does or doesn’t do.

The author also, rather randomly, is obsessed with the word ‘light’. It crops up in virtually every chapter, more than once, for no apparent reason. But regardless of how many times he uses it, he still can’t manage to make this dull read shine.

With a story without direction and character after character you couldn’t really care less about, this particular season is definitely worth avoiding at all cost.

one out of five