I thought the first Harry Potter was good; got about half-way through the second and was suffering from deja vu – it felt like the first rewritten but without the freshness. Procuess writing. My daughter tried to get me back to a later one, the fourth I think it might have been, but my eyes kept glazing over. Just full of plot holes as described by other posters. Or just stuff.
In Le Carre, I’ve had trouble with Smiley’s age, the ages of those surrounding him and bits of the chronology appearing not to fit together too well. Me or the novels? Finally I gave up (mentally) chasing down the connections and just took each book as an entity on its own.
As Mary says, plot holes pull you out of the story. They are a pain. Often they are blindingly obvious to the reader.
Hugh, I don’t mind a coincidence or two – I have seen a few in real life – coincidence does happen which is why we have a word for it. BUT when they are the key to a story and they keep happening to reset the storyline, save the life of the protagonist, etc., then they get to be too much.
One coincidence, yes; two suspect; three – I’m closing the book.
Something else that pulls me out of a story is chronoclasms in dialog. For instance, when I was a lad in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s, we were pretty British (even in officlal, as distinct from ordinary spoken, accent). An example is “railway station”. Now we (or rather, many OTHER Australians) say “train station” – they’ve learnt that from American movies and TV. The other day, I heard a character in an Australian TV drama set in the 1950s refer to a “train station”. No, we didn’t say that.
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