Bingo Review 14: Yellow
Gold (aka “shiny yellow”, hence it counts for this square) is something I’ve had sitting around for a while; I picked it up out of a bargain bin at an indie bookstore I like.
Basically, Miyuki, whose father was Japanese and mother Welsh, goes on vacation every year for two weeks in January to a small town in Wales and ends up in the local pub a lot. She gets to know some of the regulars and locals who drink there. The thing that really gets her in with the group is that she’s pretty good at trivia night, and is always on a team with Short Mr. Hughes, Tall Mr. Hughes, and Mr. Puw. She doesn’t really know their full names or details about them, and they don’t know much more about her either. This year, Miyuki gets it in her head to paint a section of cliff gold, because it looks like gold in certain lights. This is her big adventure. Two other characters are also set up for some “big” change in their lives, although you really only get to hear much detail about one of the other regulars at the bar, one Septic Barry. There’s also some drama when one of the Mssrs. Hughes seemingly goes missing.
Gradually, there’s some reveals about Miyuki’s past and present in her non-vacation life, and she’s basically presented as a kind of unimpressive almost but not quite loser who manages to get by in ways even she doesn’t quite understand. Her partner, in business and in life, gradually becomes a part of her picture, and then there’s a concluding cliff hanger that’s seems almost mean spirited in way, except that it fits with some of her friends’ starting new things for them, just like Miyuki might have to if she survives her hundredth sneeze (this would be spoilers to explain).
There’s nothing remarkable about the characters or the story or the writing; it’s all just kind of there. It’s not bad, it’s just not very satisfying in the end, especially when both of the blurbs on the back refer to the novel as “funny”. No, this is not. It’s unremarkable at best, and blah at worst. No gold medals for this one, unless it’s fools gold which might actually be kind of fitting.