It’s hard to be a bearer of bad press for a book you were so excited about, but I am afraid I am going to be that person for The End of the Day. This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year – I adore Bill Clegg’s debut Did You Ever Have a Family, and I was beyond ecstatic that he was publishing a new book this year. And I am so glad that I got the opportunity to read it early. I desperately wanted to shout from the rooftops about how much I love this, but I am sad to report that this book was one of my most disappointing reads of the year sadly. Let’s get into why.
I won’t have much to say about this book which is in my opinion its biggest flaw. It just did nothing particularly interesting or worthwhile. The blurb on the front notes “Ambitious in scope, tender in detail” but unfortunately that’s not what this is. This is ambitious in scope, because the book tries to tackle class and socioeconomic differences, but the fact of the matter is is that it does not succeed in that. I found this to be rather superficial and I think it lacks nuance. The book had a lot of potential to explore class and disparity between different socioeconomic groups in a lot of interesting ways, but it just never went there. It scratches the surface at times, but I felt like it beats around the bush too much, without really tackling the issues it could (and probably intended to).
Tender in detail it is also not, but overbearing in detail most certainly. The book managed to drag on so much, without really ever going anywhere and I found that incredibly frustrating. The pace is so slow, but instead of doing something in the mean time, the book focuses so much on unimportant details. The author spends paragraphs upon paragraphs focusing on things that did not do anything for either the story nor the characters.
I feel like this book is similar to Did You Ever Have a Family, but I do not think it did any of the things that one did right. Yes, this is technically a character study, but I barely remember the names of said characters which is a BIG YIKES (or maybe I am just super forgetful). I think they were quite boring and unremarkable in most ways. I also had a strong sense of deja vu reading this. Like I’ve read about these same prototypical characters a thousand times before (and one time was too many). It also moves through time, but not in any way that is interesting or that keeps you guessing.
One thing I did enjoy is how all the stories in this book come together. I love multiple perspectives that end up converging, that’s always a plus for me. But I felt like even that was not executed well here, because it was obvious where it was going to go, but the text also does not engage with this interconnectedness in any shape or form.
Overall, this one was a huge disappointment. I just could not engage with the book at all and I feel like it lacked nuance and focus.
I would love to hear from you! Have you read this one, or any of Bill Clegg’s previous work? Let me know!
In the meantime, happy reading
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.
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