Official Review: A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze

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Latest Review: A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze by Trufin Hatch

Official Review: A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze

Post by NRoach » 13 Jun 2018, 01:58

[Following is an official review of "A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze" by Trufin Hatch.]
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1 out of 4 stars
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A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze, by Trufin Hatch, is an enigma to me. I'm not sure what I expected, given the main character is a sea-faring trout, but I know that what I got definitely wasn't it. The opening captivated me with its poetry, and I settled in for a cosy, lyrical read with the occasional falter in meter, but generally sublime prose. That's where Hatch's skill lies, and it's pretty obvious to see. There are a few recurrent spelling issues, such as “two and fro” and incorrect use of “it's”, which can be distracting, but the writing beyond those is very clean.

The story follows the life of Willie, a trout, from his hatching in south-west England, through his misadventures in adolescence, and into adulthood. He encounters a whole cast of river- and sea-faring creatures such as otters, other trouts, and salmon, and is used almost as a framing device for a local history anthology. Therein lies the rub. On the book's amazon listing, it proudly proclaims its status as a 'regional best-seller', and I can believe it. The book is chock-full of place names, and features of local geography, and even human characters from the region, all of which are utterly dumbfounding to readers who don't know the region inside and out. I spent the majority of the book totally bewildered as to what is happening, where it's happening, and whom it's happening to, simply because I grew up in the Midlands, not in the West Country.

Aside from being robbed of any sense of locale by the author deeming name-drops sufficient, the language used can be baffling. I know nothing about fish; I couldn't pick a pike from a trout, and yet Hatch seemingly takes it for granted that everyone knows what he means by a 'par' or a 'grilse'. Frequently it was impossible for me to tell when a character was being referred to by an epithet, to avoid reusing their name, and when an entirely new character or kind of fish had appeared. For much of the book, I felt like I was dreaming, where scenes took place in vague, blurry locales with characters that could simultaneously be about four different species, depending on what a particular word I'd never seen before meant.

Then we have to tackle the issue of local dialect. As someone who's intensely interested in accents and dialects throughout the UK, I was pretty happy about being able to see the inner workings of the West Country dialect, although I doubt it could have been handled with any less deft. Hatch frequently tortures the English language into being nigh unreadable, and does it so often that I began dreading every piece of dialogue. A glossary is included, but it's not hugely helpful in ebook format, because flicking back and forth to those pages can be a royal pain. Again, I can see this going down very well with those from the area, who obviously have an incredible advantage in reading it. The rest of us are left struggling with paragraphs upon paragraphs that are on par with Chaucer in clarity.

Hatch is plainly a talented writer, but simply makes too many assumptions about his reader's knowledge. Perhaps they're not unfair assumptions given that it is, fundamentally, a book written for a specific area, but I don't think they've done him any favours here. If he turned his talents to poetry, or even novels with much broader general appeal, I think he could do very well, and I'm honestly interested in taking a look at any other stuff he's written or will write in the future.

I give A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze 1 out of 4 stars. If you happen to be from the area, with a keen knowledge of fish, then this book is written for you. If you're not, and most of us aren't, there's pretty much nothing here for you. I don't think this is an indictment, because every book has its target audience but at the end of the day, this book's is small and takes no prisoners.

A Doublet: Willie & Tingle Maze
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Post by Marvelous chisom » 14 Jun 2018, 02:57

Awesome!! This is very creative and educative ,i love adventurous books. I would really love to read this one, and also knowing the names of places i never knew before.

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Post by Bianka Walter » 14 Jun 2018, 04:23

I actually thought about reading this one, but in the end, chose a different book. I'm so glad that I did! It is such an interesting premise, what a pity the author couldn't deliver.
Thanks for your review, I enjoyed it!
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Post by SamSim » 14 Jun 2018, 10:25

Great review - and I saw what you did with "tackle," there. It's a shame that this book is so narrow in its reach, since I've never read a book that centered around a fish and was, at first, eager to check it out. By the time I finished reading the review, I had to reel in my enthusiasm.
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Post by Ever_Reading » 14 Jun 2018, 14:01

That cover alone gets a 1 out of 4 from me :lol2: But jokes aside, I like that the author wrote from a trout's point of view instead of another more typical animal, like a dog or horse. But since I'm not even from the UK and know little about fish, I'll have to pass. I loved reading your review and feel you justified the low rating well.
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Post by daniya__shah3 » 14 Jun 2018, 14:18

I thought of reading this one, however, I do not possess any working knowledge about fish. Also, the grammatical errors are quite a turn off. Thanks for coming up with an honest opinion.
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Post by KristyKhem » 14 Jun 2018, 21:12

Your review took me on a journey in itself! Great job in creatively expressing the flaws of this book. Hope it garners some fans in the English south-west, at least.

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Post by elivia05 » 14 Jun 2018, 21:57

I really appreciate your review. I was considering reading this, but - now that I know a little more about the limited audience - I am probably going to pass on this one. Very clearly articulated review!

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Post by Miriam Molina » 15 Jun 2018, 05:36

As I am not from the UK, have had no fishing experience, and cannot distinguish a trout from another fish, I do not think I will make heads or tails of this book. You never mentioned Tingle. Is he or she another trout?

I thoroughly enjoyed your review, NRoach! Like you, I don't think I can fish out any sense from this work of fish-tion.

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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 15 Jun 2018, 23:56

Too bad I'm not the targeted audience. I'll have this one pass. By the way, I enjoyed reading your review.
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