Despite plodding through this series, I am intrigued by the story. It really is fetish!porn (I used to say "well-written" before realizing what I real...moreDespite plodding through this series, I am intrigued by the story. It really is fetish!porn (I used to say "well-written" before realizing what I really meant was "literate"), don't fool yourself. But it's so exploratory and so uninhibited that it demands your attention.
I'm actually torn over my rating: I enjoyed reading this book a bit more than I did the first one but the direction of the story in the introductory novel was so much more interesting to me. I do like how Anne Rice has developed the characters as she moves toward the end of the trilogy, and the psychological implications attached to Beauty and Tristan's differing reactions to existing as naked pleasure slaves make for surprisingly thought-provoking revelations about the nature of sex and arousal (at least, their natures as they pertain to the story). (less)
You know what the absolute worst condition for reading a book is? When you say you'll write a paper for someone, because you're a first-semester fresh...moreYou know what the absolute worst condition for reading a book is? When you say you'll write a paper for someone, because you're a first-semester freshman and haven't been able to find a palatable campus job yet, and realize you should probably have some beyond-Spark-Notes knowledge of the material.
Someone should have told my more-than-a-decade-ago self that. Because I'm only now realizing that I should maybe give this one another chance. (less)
This book's only redeeming quality is that, being made of nothing but paper and dogshit, it is 100% flammable.
Though, among the crucial life lessons I...moreThis book's only redeeming quality is that, being made of nothing but paper and dogshit, it is 100% flammable.
Though, among the crucial life lessons I learned in high school, this book stands as a monument to one of the most important: Never, ever follow through on literary recommendations from my mother, whose ability to identify worthwhile reading material is as awful as she is.(less)
It has been quite some time since I've visited Douglas Adams' absurdist/sci-fi romp, though watching the movie reminded me of how much I loved this bo...moreIt has been quite some time since I've visited Douglas Adams' absurdist/sci-fi romp, though watching the movie reminded me of how much I loved this book.
Adams' sense of humour, for one, is as dryly hilarious as it is irreverent. The seemingly tangential asides wind up becoming woven into the story in ways a first-time reader has no way of anticipating. And his characters' quirks are just flat-out enjoyable.
To make the end of the world (and intergalactic travel, for that matter) merely incidental takes some massive cojones, and Adams does it without flinching. The book is about Arthur foremost and everything else is secondary, though it could be about anyone coming to terms with that fact that, sometimes, you just can't go home again. And keeping that tiny little kernel of truth in the back of one's mind kind of brings an otherwise comedic, out-of-this-world tale a little more down to Earth.
The world lost a brilliant mind and undeniable writerly force when Douglas Adams died, but at least his books (and all the countless trans-media adaptations of his best-known work) and works live on. And, while the other four books in the "Hitchhiker" trilogy (yes, it's a five-book trilogy) are pretty fine novels, they just don't compare to this one.(less)
As I recall, this book seemed a little more disjointed and almost rushed than its four predecessors, but was still wonderful. I think there could have...moreAs I recall, this book seemed a little more disjointed and almost rushed than its four predecessors, but was still wonderful. I think there could have been better ways to end such a revered "trilogy" other than its bummer of an ending, but who am I to judge the brilliant Douglas Adams? (less)
Good God, this book made me cry through its last few pages. It's a wonderfully touching tale written with poignant honesty and heartbreaking revelatio...moreGood God, this book made me cry through its last few pages. It's a wonderfully touching tale written with poignant honesty and heartbreaking revelations, as well as some of the most beautiful prose I've ever encountered in modern British literature. Watching a dead man come to terms with his own death and postmortem heartbreaks made for a devastatingly fascinating read. Just know that once you finish it, you're going to need a hug. Very, very badly.(less)
God, so. What to say about a novel that left me emotionally exhausted every time I picked it up and desperately wanting to read just five more paragra...moreGod, so. What to say about a novel that left me emotionally exhausted every time I picked it up and desperately wanting to read just five more paragraphs every time I reluctantly put it down?
It's a love story, but not in the traditional sense. Love of another. Love of the self. Love of vices (namely pornography, prostitutes and booze, with some drugs and masturbation thrown in for the Yatzee). Love of one's own misery. Love of the past. Love of what could have been. Love of hope that hasn't been seen in years. Love without a home.
It's about how time changes everything and nothing at all, even the memory of the dark and dirty girl down the street who was a blip in time but a turning point in life.
It's an exercise in modern stream-of-consciousness writing. One minute you're wallowing in the protagonist's misery in the present, the next you're yanked back to the past where the only good thing is Gabriel's first love. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Floundering Individual"? Oh, God yes. And, like James Joyce so masterfully did so many years ago, you feel all the closer to the protagonist for it because you're forced to learn everything about him when you're forced that deeply into his head.
It's an exploration of regret and the necessity of an end, which is an issue Gabriel is fated to grapple with for eons beyond the book's final line.
The exploration of a first love is almost guaranteed to evoke near-tangible images of the reader's own experiences -- and those fondly recalled ghosts of past romances that were the right thing at the wrong time are almost gut-wrenching in how "Hope" gradually raises them to heartbreaking palpability. You learn about the psychological damage one faces by living in the past, and it's terrifying.
The supporting cast is almost as screwed up as Gabriel, and they're all just as compelling. His best friend (and most immediate foil) is one of the most tragic characters I've ever encountered in literature.
What's most remarkable about "Hope" is (aside from Glen Duncan's brilliant prose that leaves all aspiring writers trembling with the knowledge that they will never be able to pen a phrase with Mr. Duncan's profound beauty -- and being completely at peace with that realisation) how deftly it makes the reader feel every range of emotion the characters experience. I lived and died with everything Gabriel felt, right until the crashing climax. He's such a vividly depicted character that it's almost tragic to imagine a world where he's just a fictional player. He's far from perfect, which makes him brilliantly human.
An absolutely shattering, beautiful read. Like everything else of Mr. Duncan's I've devoured (and loved), this is one of those novels I just want to shove in someone's face and order them to read. Immediately. (less)