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The Divines by Ellie Eaton - a Quick Review

30 March 2022

The Divines – Quick Review

This one was a fast read. I’m almost afraid to hashtag it because I don’t have much good to say about it. Truth be told, I found the writing too entrapped in repetitive form; her sentences followed the same patterns, over and over. This frustrated me because I like to think of writing in terms of Virginia Woolfe’s built language/sentences. Since reading her, I’ve considered my sentences by form: some are bare earth, some are basic huts, some are houses, some mansions, some castles – and then there are some of my sentences that are veritable cathedrals in their elaborate construction. Perhaps, some are even sprawling botanical gardens. I felt this novel devoid of cathedrals or gardens. I felt this novel, rather, composed mostly of huts and houses.

Beyond structure, the themes were flat and lifeless. Who is this protagonist, really? Her character is sloppy, floppy. Her motives unclear. Who is her foppish husband, Jürgen. What of this depthless concept of birth and motherhood? What resolution does she seek, in truth? What the fuck happened to Lauren, anyway? Why bother developing the character just to leave it a loose end?

Honestly, this story’s greatest advantage lies in its intrigue: what happened? And thank god, Eaton holds on to that nugget ‘til the last page.

~Meg V

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