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Exile - Richard North Patterson #inbetweeny

Ok I'm a couple of books behind on my blog so this is an effort to bash a couple of posts out before bedtime.

This book had been on my bookshelf for literally years and I can't remember whether it was purchased for me or whether I actually picked it up. The topic - the conflict in the middle east was something I, to my shame, only knew snippets about. The book provided a vivid portrait of Israel and its complicated politics, along with the West Bank and the Palestinian movement. I must admit I did struggle getting to grips with who was on which side but Patterson spelled it out as clearly as he could.

I guessed the twist very early on and was disappointed it took the lead character, David, some 600 pages to work it out (I won't spoil it for you) but that does lead to my other criticism of the book, it was VERY long. At times it felt like the page count (nearly 800) was needed - the trip to the middle east (although totally pointless for the trial) was really interesting to read about and the chapters involving the suicide bombers had me gripped. Yet other parts of the story dragged and I found myself having to force myself to just 'get it read' which is never a good sign.

Surprisingly despite the page count there were a number of sections that were not covered in enough detail. Carol disappeared far too quickly, she sighted that David had always been holding back from her emotionally yet we didn't witness this and as soon as things turned slightly un-rosy she legged it despite having been thrilled to have set a wedding date only days before. David and Hana's back storey didn't cut it for me, if she was the love of his life this wasn't conveyed in the few pages that covered it and we were never really informed how David survived money wise despite having no paying clients for months on end as a result of representing a 'terrorist'. This coupled with David's casting aside of his political ambitions, condensed to a paragraph or two, could all have done with more words which wouldn't have worked as the book would then have been unmanageable as opposed to just VERY long.

I couldn't warm to Hana, I understand why she was quite self-contained but her interaction with David began to annoy me and the ending overall was a bit of a damp squib. I hated Hana's husband though, yet his ending too was a bit disappointing.

Overall it was a very difficult topic to write about, Patterson had obviously spent a lot of time researching and did offer up a picture of just how deep rooted and insurmountable the situation is. I would like to understand more on the topic but the book was too long, the twist too early given away and the lead characters just didn't get under your skin like they needed to.

Its already been removed from my book shelf!

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