My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I think this was a well written book, it’s the subject matter of the story that’s made me not rate it higher. I don’t really like reading books or watching movies that try to teach me moral or political lessons, call me shallow, but that’s just the way I am. ~okay, I hear shouts of ‘SHALLOW’, out in cyberspace :)~
This is the story of Finch, a casper milquetoast of a man, who agrees to live his life at the whim of a very wealthy man, Mr. Crane for 5,000,000 bucks. Finch’s new position?, Mute Hermit residing in the garden of Crane’s estate. Crane is going to buy his own way to living the simple life, by living vicariously through a bought and paid for employee.
Reminiscent of the movie ‘Cast Away‘, our story revolves around Finch’s adjustment to his new environment, but because of the written word we are able to follow his thoughts as he goes through this experience and finds peace in the world of nature that surrounds him. There’s no doubt that the author is trying to make the point that we are all in too much of a hurry and out of touch with nature, and we need to just stop and smell the roses and enjoy some peace and tranquility.
The problem with the narrative for me was the lack of conflict. Finch doesn’t care about money, he doesn’t even seek out the Hermit gig, he is pretty much just a drone who waits for someone, anyone, to steer him in the next direction and so Crane is just the next person to take him by the arm and lead him down the garden path, literally. Maybe if Finch had been someone like Crane, living in the fast lane, the offer of a huge amount of cash to shed his former existence to be a Hermit would have been more poignant, but instead it was just kind of monotonous.
Here is the poem by Yeats that gave the author his title,
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.