Reading Log: The Seed Collectors (Scarlett Thomas)

I’m not quite sure what kind of book Scarlett Thomas’s The Seed Collectors wants to be given its compositional melange of pop lit, fantasy, botany text and fairy tale with a dash of salaciousness and bondage here and a list or two there. Thomas is a talented author, inventive and wickedly funny, but throughout this book I found myself caring very little about a few characters and not at all for the rest. This is a novel surprisingly devoid of pleasure for the characters or the reader, not least because those characters are almost uniformly self-involved (or too thinly drawn to matter). I don’t necessarily need narratives of redemption or epiphanies—or even pleasure in a traditional sense—but I want a book with something I can care about. But The Seed Collectors never coheres into a whole; by the mid-point my hope that it would come together and inspire some feelings began to diminish and—as I slogged toward the finish—my lack of interest steadily increased…not unlike the sexual dissatisfaction felt by more than one of the characters as their own hopes and realities collided.

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