Juggernaut

Juggernaut is the debut novel of writer, Michel Semienchuk. It’s just before Y2K for two couples who happen to be in their final year of university in Montreal. The first relationship is Elizabeth and Rick. Elizabeth is a very self-conscious photographer uncertain of her future. Rick is a commerce major, private about his feelings and dissatisfied with his life and school. Once Rick becomes attracted to someone in his interviewing class he begins to doubt his feelings for Elizabeth. His classmate, Angela is part of couple number two: Angela and Sylvain. Angela possesses the 3 Bs: beautiful, bright and bitchy. Her boyfriend Sylvain is a handsome alpha male type. Their relationship is based heavily on their sexual attraction to each other and is complicated because of their varying personalities. The book explores both couples every move, their insecurities about themselves and their relationship, their trivial thoughts, their memories even their sex lives are documented in the book (and unfortunately read like an amateur romance novel). The problem with trying to capture every move for Semienchuk was that he didn’t know what to leave out. Juggernaut clocks in at 510 pages. The book could have easily been half the length and more to the point. Another problem with Juggernaut is the characters themselves were lacking. They were very typical and most often irritating. Angela, especially with her superior attitude, and Rick with his despondent nature. I didn’t care to know how they were feeling or if either of the couples would stay together. It made this 510-paged novel a pretty unbearable read. It felt like I was watching back-to-back episodes of an entire season of a terrible reality show involving two very boring couples. It was a bold move for Michel Semienchuk to have a go at an epic 500-page novel. However, Juggernaut is far from epic. But I must admit, the ending had a welcoming twist. So if you’re willing to read 463 pages of randomness to get there, then go for it. It will be long and excruciating. (Andrea Nene)

by Michel Semienchuk, $19.95, 510 pgs, Sweet Baby Jenkins Press, 2348 Lucerne PO BOX 271, Montreal, QC, H3R 2J8, sweetbabyjenkinspress.com

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