Saturday, 15 July 2017

‘PANDORA’S BOX’ BY ELIZABETH GAGE



 
Sure took me a while to read this one. Not that it was boring. I certainly had a ball. It’s just that with all the ARCs coming my way via NetGalley I just had no time for it. I tried my best to get back to it in between books but the truth of the matter is it was just a pain to leave it aside. Now that peace has started to reign again since I have slowed down on my NetGalley requests I can tell you that not only did I finish PANDORA’S BOX (1990, Pocket Books) a happy man but I found myself cursing the gods of trashy books for having read my last of the Elizabeth Gage’s contractual five novels from Simon & Schuster. I’m almost sure nothing will be the same once I start her Mira books which are supposedly tamer than what we’ve gotten so far. 

Anyway, getting back to PANDORA’S BOX, I must point out that it’s a lengthy novel, a door stopper as some of you like to call it. At 864 pages (mass market paperback) the novel has to be pretty darn good for me to invest my time in it. It is, as it turns out. The story revolves around two women who, born on the same date but different as night and day, come to cross paths later in life against a backdrop of political agenda. What happens before is a series of scandals and sins à la Elizabeth Gage. Lies, adultery, business takeovers, all spiced up by a strong narrative and a psyche of its characters that really lets you in on the reasons of their ways. In fact, if I had one negative thing to say about PANDORA’S BOX it’s that the author relies too much on explanation. The show, don’t tell mantra seems completely forgotten at times, which, in the end, irks quite a bit, but since the positive overcompensates the negative I am—and was—willing to let it go.  

Indeed, getting into the nitty-gritty of this frothy read that spans over thirty years was a joy still, most specifically because it took over from the real world. With its fleshed-out characterization and well-thought of plot twists (some expected some not) nothing came to matter except the fate of these fictitious people. I even found myself getting soft on the antagonist who the author managed to render human-like. Just go to show you that even a trashy novel like PANDORA’S BOX can impress on a literary level. But are we really surprised? This second offering (after the riveting A GLIMPSE OF STOCKING) is nothing less than what we’ve come to expect from a writer who, in my humble opinion, should come back from the pseudonymous grave ASAP.
 

 

Until next post—Martin

MMP UK edition