Monday, July 23, 2007

The Trials of Tiffany Trott by Isabel Wolff

Let me start this post with a disclaimer: I am not in any way endorsing, praising or recommending this book. I just have a few comments I'd like to make about it.

I just finished reading The Trials of Tiffany Trott by Isabel Wolff. It is unlike any other book I have ever read. Isabel Wolff had been recommended to me as an author whose works the recommender had enjoyed; so when I saw this book on my last trip to the paperback used book store, I decided to buy it and try it on for size. This 400-page book is one of those that I completed in spite of the fact that the plot held little or no interest for me. What kept me reading was the clever use of words and the unusual vocabulary choices.

Here are some of the wonderfully unusual adjective choices Ms Wolff made, with definitions in parentheses, in case you need them:

  • ... sky was a refulgent blue.... (a radiant or resplendent quality or state)
  • ... scabrous toilet...(covered with raised, roughened, or unwholesome patches)
  • ....aciduous tone of voice...(somewhat acid or harsh in taste or manner)
  • .....prognathous jaw...(being or having the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper part of the face)
  • ....her complexion was as etiolated as...(deprived of natural vigor)
  • ...her amanuensis, not her boyfriend....(one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript)
  • ...she said, splenetically.... (malevolently, spitefully)
  • ...the main course is practically carobonized... (apparently this was a misspelling or a typographical error. Carbonized means charred.)
Here are a few of the interesting phrasing examples I noted as I read:
  • in a discussion about plastic surgery: "...knife begins at forty."
  • While waiting for a late blind date to show up: " anxiety levels were almost Himalayan."
  • "....about as attractive as a baboon's bottom."
  • While enduring a long monologue by a boring date: " one narcoleptic gem after another dropped from his lips."
  • "I am not a commitophobe. I'm the opposite. I'm a spouseomane."
I read this book in somewhat of a fast-forward mode, skimming to hit the high spots and found that the high spots for me were structural peculiarities rather than interest in the plot or the characters. As they say, to each his own.....

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