I've just finished reading Janice Galloway's acclaimed novel The Trick is to Keep Breathing and I'm in two minds about it.
To give you an idea of what it's about here's a snippet from an Amazon review: "Galloway is writing in a long-established tradition of confessional fiction with mentally disturbed women at its centre". It's been compared with Plath's The Bell Jar which, surprisingly enough, I've yet to read.
'The Trick...' certainly was a good read, in fact I read it in a day. But the ending seemed a bit staid for me. Perhaps I was looking for a suicide or an otherwise dramatic turnabout. The lack of visual imagery didn't lend itself to me either, I think it was on Galloway's website that I read she just doesn't find the Scottish landscape inspiring.
The biggest problem for me was that I didn't warm to the protagonist which begs the question of whether it is necessary to like the main character in order to enjoy a novel.
I don't think it's necessary to like every part of the protagonist, I'm currently re-reading The Awakening and there's certainly a lot to point the finger at about the main character, Edna, but overall I have a fondness for her an a certain level empathy. With Galloway's protagonist, 'Joy', I had no sense of empathy and thus no sympathy for her either, I just didn't connect with her on any level.
As a side note, I'm also reading Virginia Woolf's
To The Lighthouse and pleasantly surprised to come across a character called 'Sorley' which is a novelty!