The 5th Opening Round of Tournament of Books has been judged by Ron Hogan who is the man behind Beatrice, a literary blog that's been up and running since 1995.
Today it's Ivyland by Miles Klee versus Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. One is a dystopian novel and the other a psychological thriller.
Gone Girl, I'm fairly sure you've all heard of, as it was as popular and talked about everywhere in 2012 as Bring Up The Bodies and Fifty Shades of Grey (which puts me off reading any of them straight away-yes I am that stubborn!)
Ivyland is probably not been a book title that's been bandied around quite as much. I only first heard about it when they released the longlist for the ToB. It's style is something that appeals to me though and is now on my to-read list.
Ivyland set in a place called Ivyland ,New Jersey.There has been a threat of a viral pandemic that leads Americans to submit to a surgical procedure which they've been told will immunize them. However, the procedure has serious side effects, andEndless Nutraceuticals, the companythat provides it has become the country's de facto governing body. Drug use and crime are rampant, and the infrastructure is collapsing.
Ron finds some great passages in Ivyland, on the down side though there were parts he felt were out of place and didn't really make sense. Saying that, 'No matter what weird stuff he throws at us, we can feel confident that we’ll come to understand how it fits into the big picture.'
As for Gone Girl, he felt having just 2 narratives kept the book feeling a lot more straightforward. It did take him a while to warm up to the book and the Nick character, as he felt Gillian Flynn made the character too much of an over-explainer that it irritated him and her initial attempts at slow-revealing was a little too obvious.
What eventually swayed him towards Gone Girl was Flynn's ability to keep you guessing - 'Flynn reveals that letting you know you were being played was just her way of distracting you from how much she’d been playing you all along.'
I have to say I still have no interested in reading Gone Girl whatsoever, but as millions of people seemed to have enjoyed it, it doesn't really matter what I think.
I did guess though that this would go through to the next round so I've correctly guessed 5 out of 6 right so far-high 5 to me!