ebookclassics

The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert (2015)

cathedralFresh from a trip to New York, I enjoyed the setting of this book and descriptions of parts of the city I had walked myself just days ago.

THE STORY

The Sunken Cathedral follows a group of loosely connected New Yorkers still clinging to the past while trying to navigate the disquiet of their present. The characters include two widows, an art instructor, an art historian and a woman with a husband and teenage son.

THE GOOD

Stories about aging seem to be finding their way to me. What are you trying to tell me universe?! Although it was difficult for me to follow the narrative of The Sunken Cathedral, I was struck by the desolation of the characters. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for them and their inability to let go of people and events from the past combined with the anxiety of knowing they may be at the end of their journeys.

THE BAD

The story switches between characters and time periods so abruptly, I often found myself confused and wondering what was happening and who I was reading about. The inclusion of long footnotes to provide a deeper layer to a character’s background didn’t help either.

CONCLUSION

The Sunken Cathedral is a dream-like, melancholy story about characters so bogged down by the past, they can’t connect emotionally with the present. It was difficult to get to know the characters and follow the story, but I could appreciate the undertone of anxiety they felt about finding themselves at a point in life where there was really nowhere else to go.

3/5 Stars

NOTE: I received a copy of The Sunken Cathedral with much thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada, but this in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in my review.

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8 comments on “The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert (2015)

  1. TJ @ MyBookStrings
    June 2, 2015

    I am not generally a fan of footnotes in a work of fiction (with the exception of the Thursday Next series). But the beautiful cover seems to go well with the dreamlike atmosphere you describe.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      June 3, 2015

      I would have been okay with the footnotes if they hadn’t been so long. Since they contained a lot of background information about a character, I found them distracting.

      Like

  2. Brian Joseph
    June 3, 2015

    I too am more interested in stories that concern aging as I get a little bit older. It is one of the most universal of human topics.

    I tend to like narratives that are a little dreamlike so this sounds very good.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      June 3, 2015

      I’m a little anxious about getting older because I know it’s happening, but I still feel like I’m fourteen inside my head. I need to find a book about someone who is completely in denial about aging. 🙂

      Like

  3. Naomi
    June 3, 2015

    I’m reading a book right now about someone who can’t shake their past and don’t have much hope for the future. So depressing, isn’t it?
    I do like stories about aging, and I also like ones about a bunch of characters loosely connected to each other. Hmmm…

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      June 3, 2015

      I think you might find the themes in this book interesting. I didn’t become attached to any of the characters, but I empathized with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. KatieMcD
    June 3, 2015

    I’m just starting this today! We’ll see how it goes….

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      June 3, 2015

      Ooh, looking forward to your thoughts. It was a little slow-going for me, but an interesting book.

      Like

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