That was the poor man's version of "Death of Artemio Cruz". And I didn't even like "Death of Artemio Cruz" that much but this was just probably one of the worst books I have ever read.
One of the advance reviews says:
"Landsman is one of the few writers of our generation to have wrested from the English language a voice uniquely and searing her own".
True, the voice is so unique that Landsman is probably the only person that can actually understand this mess of a narrative.
I am not a big fan of second person narrative. I didn't like the bits of it in "Death of Artemio Cruz" and it almost ruined "Feast of the Goat" for me. Landsman took it further and wrote the whole book like that which was quite suicidal. To make matters worse she decided to abandon the boring custom of putting dialogues between apostrophes and threw it all together. Of course as experimental as she is trying to be there was no chronological order either. All this made the book confusing, tiring and impossible to read.
Don’t get me wrong here, though. I love some challenging narrative – Conversation in the Cathedral is my favourite book. However, there is a difference between sophisticated and pretentious. "The Rowing Lesson" is definitely the latter.
According to another review it is "A fierce elegy, a daughter's imaginary inhabitation of the memory of her dying father...". Felt more like a drunkard's mumbling but anyway, am I the only person that finds a daughter imagining her father pissing his pants, shitting himself and masturbating rather disturbing and NOT lyrical?
And after struggling through almost 300 pages of this the characters still refused to take any human shape whatsoever.