Justine is a surreal story about the affairs of a couple of people in the exotic city of Alexandria.

Flowery prose, nonlinear narrative and poetic writing gives the novel dream-like hazy feeling, which, while making the story somewhat more intriguing, also detaches readers both from the events in the plot and character feelings. The problem is that neither the story nor the characters are that interesting to begin with, especially if you take the dream-like style away. I mean, the themes of infidelity have already been explored in hundreds of other works. The book’s angle at free sexuality is still quite thought-provoking though.

The novel, as a whole, is well-written, but works which take style over substance and mask their shortcomings in character and plot by deliberate confusion and vagueness aren’t that good in my book. Leave beautiful words and compositions to poetry and just tell me an interesting solid story in a novel, alright?

Positive: Negative:
Describes the exotic city of Alexandria Overwritten flowery prose
Thought-provoking on free sexuality Overly poetic composition makes the story hard to follow
Slow, lethargic pace
Both characters and plot are filtered through some sort of haze making it hard to care about either of them

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