The collection of related short stories in My Way To Canossa by David Brendan O’Meara are all related to a story about medieval Europe. The story, in its original form seems to be about a king who is excommunicated from the Catholic Church and seems to be in some sticky situation with two women, one of whom is pregnant. At some point, it seems the Pope forgives the King for political reasons and all is well. The original story seems to be re-enacted in some way in one of the short stories which is split into two parts and then the other three short stories seem to piece together other parts of the story through other people who have some later role in it. I am only guessing this because the story is very fragmented and quite honestly I wasn’t sure what I was even reading, let alone how to piece it together.
The idea of it is rather neat; that you would take an older story and weave different ways it affected people through time and make light of the original story through those people. It just didn’t work out for this book though. The concept has the potential to really work and bring about a unique story line though so I can give a point for originality.
There are an abundance of tangents everywhere in this book that just needed edited out. An easy hundred pages of this book just need thrown out. Because of all the tangents, I couldn’t begin to piece together the plots of any of the stories and I really have no idea what the purpose of any of them were. I could see the original medieval story woven through them, but for what purpose I am unsure. I really don’t know what the main points of the original story were either. Severe editing is desperately needed for this work.
None of the characters are memorable or developed either. I got very bored reading this because not only could I not find the purpose of the work, the main characters droned on and on about unrelated things and never revealed any of themselves in a significant way that made them good characters. They are simply flat. Some dialogue might have helped some, but what little there was also just fell flat and needed to flow more smoothly.
Overall, this book just isn’t a good work. The concept has promise, but the writing simply didn’t fulfill it. The characters missed their marks, but more devastatingly the plot was indecipherable while the text was obtuse and unnecessary. It was a painfully dull read that just overall felt meaningless.