You know those TV programmes that are naturally about 45 minutes long but which, in order to fit them into a schedule, are padded out to fill an hour? Well, Dale Bailey’s “In the Night Wood” struck me as a little bit like that: it would perhaps have benefitted from being a little shorter, losing some of the repetition, being endowed with a bit more urgency.
Whether or not that’s fair tough, I’m not sure. To be frank – plucked from the ‘buy-one-get-one-half-price’ table in Waterstones – it’s not the sort of thing I usually read, but if you were a fan of the genre (which, I confess, I’d struggle to give a name to), then I can see how you might devour the whole thing in a sitting. So fans will love it.
However, I found it difficult to have very much sympathy with the two main characters – which was a bit of a problem as I didn’t care what happened to them – and at one point came across a significant gaff/inconsistency in the narrative akin to a continuity error in a movie.