Half Finished Books – Part Two (To Be Sung Underwater)

Be sure to read Lynn’s first impressions of this book here!

I’d have to say this didn’t sustain it’s promise. Not a short book (436 pages),  To Be Sung Underwater peters out and gets repetitious. The romance between Judith and Willy, Judith’s present-day career problems, her relationship with her husband and daughter…. all these plot strands show promise and you wonder what’s going to happen, but there’s no real payoff for investing so much time in them.

McNeal has a few literary ticks – he repeats adjectives again and again: the “flutish” sound of the wind, as well as portentous phrases such as “she would realize later…” or “she’d always remember such and such later…”

After a while, you realize this isn’t a book about plot; it’s a book about place. The dry, remote landscape of  northwestern Nebraska is what’s really memorable. The people who pass through it are transitory and not that important in the long run, as Willy comes to believe.

That may be true but I still felt like Judith’s story arc wasn’t completed. If you are a reader who likes resolution and closure, this may not be the book for you.

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