I just finished Centuries of June which I had to force myself to read, so I am embarrassed to tell you that not only did I finish it, it sucked clear through to the end. I don’t know if I thought that the ending was going to be so much more amazing than everything that had come before that it would make the rest of the book look good in retrospect or if it would turn out to be a giant metaphor for America or… I don’t know. Something.
But no. Here’s the whole plot of the book. Man makes women suffer. Every one of them, except one, is basically good and decent and he dicks them over, but sometimes not even in ways that really appear to be his fault. And yet, in the context of the book, we’re certainly supposed to understand him as being at fault. So, on they go to their having-been-dicked-over-by-him-ness and he flits from one woman to the next.
And then at the end, he’s the one who gets comforted and enlightened.
So, yes, read about a lot of women having sad lives and sometimes dying, just so that the narrator can be comforted and enlightened.
Keith Donohue is a really good writer, though, so it’s hard to believe, with as good as the prose is, that the book sucks as much as it does. I just kept thinking, well, maybe after this next part… And the women are really memorable, but ugh. It’s just one bit of despair after another with not real outlet for grief.
So, even though it was obvious that it was just going to be one shitty life after another for the women, I kept reading, lured on by the beautiful writing, figuring there had to be some amazing pay off.
There is not.
Why did I keep reading? Because I am an idiot.