Review – The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps

Posted April 15, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of the The 199 Steps by Michael FaberThe Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps, Michel Faber

Originally reviewed 6th January, 2011

More of a novella than a novel, I think. I never really found myself engaging with it: most of it was just too perfunctory for me. The relationship between the main characters never really goes anywhere; the digging that is supposed to be absorbing her certainly doesn’t absorb me; her emotions regarding her accident barely seem to manifest; the charged emotions between the main characters fail to move me; her obsession with the man’s dog just seems a little odd…

There were two things I found well-described. One was her anxiety about her health, her determination through most of the book to stick it out without going to the hospital. I’ve felt that way, and Michel Faber made me feel it again. And the other — and less so — was the description of her painstaking efforts to separate the pages of the manuscript.

Ultimately, though, it took up an hour of my time and didn’t give me much back beside an echo of my anxious stomach-aches! That’s probably part of the reason I didn’t engage with the story. For something I got for £1 in the sale on the Kindle store, I wouldn’t say it was a waste, but it didn’t exactly glitter for me.

Rating: 2/5

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