Ever since I read Carter Beats the Devil eight years ago, I have considered Glen David Gold to be one of my favorite authors based solely on that debut. Carter is one of my favorite novels. Therefore, it's unsurprising that I've been awaiting with anticipation Gold's sophomore effort.
I run into Glen at some literary event or other every now and again, and without fail I'd ask him for info about his second novel. Sometimes his answer would be vague and small-talky. At other times he was almost hostile when the subject would come up. Certainly it made me wonder what difficulty he was experiencing in his attempt to follow his celebrated debut. (With the added pressure of his wife's phenomenal success with The Lovely Bones the year after Carter was published.) Anyway, finally a publication date was announced for Sunnyside. It was last August, if I recall correctly. I watched the date come and go without a book. Finally, a new on sale date: May 5, 2009.
I was so excited to be able to get a galley of the novel through the Amazon Vine program. It's a bit of a doorstop at nearly 600 pages, but I couldn't wait to read it. Well, I've been reading it for about a week now, and I'm only about 150 pages in. No one wanted to love a novel more than I did, but I'm struggling here. That it's beautifully written goes without saying... But, it's hard to get into. After a promising opening the story dragged. I'm not sure how involved I feel with the characters. In short, I'm disappointed.
This is the trouble with great expectations. It's so much nicer to launch into a novel knowing nothing of the author or reviews and to leave pleasantly surprised. I do believe Sunnyside is picking up steam now, and I look forward to finishing and writing a full review. But I'm a little less excited by those 600 pages looming.