Masterful storytelling in this smart, modern mystery. I am curious how this story came together in Pessl's mind - whether it was the deep and mystical...moreMasterful storytelling in this smart, modern mystery. I am curious how this story came together in Pessl's mind - whether it was the deep and mystical idea of this famous and reclusive director "Cordova" that happened first, or the idea of a beleaguered reporter who just wants to know the truth, at any cost. Fascinating how it all came together on these pages. Loved Pessl's style and her story structure, showing copies of the documents that our characters are reading - brilliant.
It took me a little while to warm up to Scott, the main character who tells the story first-person. Once he had his investigative "team" the book became much stronger with this interesting band of characters. Hopper and Nora added the perfect element of surprise, unpredictability, and often a little bit of humor.
One question that kept nagging me, however (I guess I am just too rooted in the real world...) but "Where in the world was Scott getting his money?" The book describes his disgraced reputation and career, which usually translates to little/no work, yet he seemed to have enough money to just pay for things all the time - bribes, bail, etc. Was his ex-wife giving him alimony?
Side Musings: The one theme in this book that was particularly intriguing to me - and something that happens very often in our entertainment-hungry society - is this notion of dissecting (eviscerating?) EVERY single detail in a cinematic art. Cordova's devout following - like Scott's contact, the film studies professor - believed that every single scene, every single prop, every name of a character in each of Cordova's films had a deeper meaning. Underground societies met to talk about his work, and further explore the fictional worlds that he created in each film.
This reminded me of the fervor surrounding the final season of Breaking Bad this year, and the meta-analysis of every scene, down to the colors of the characters' clothing, each word they said, etc. as some sort of clue or "Easter egg" into a deeper understanding. The same thing can be said of many other films and television series with cult followings, but I did notice that same string of obsession and fervent analysis - where people devote all of their time, and a portion of their lives to this cause, which in turn... is pure fiction. Intriguing human psychology, if nothing else. (less)
Not going to rate this one - I tried this book and realized that it just isn't for me - I am not the "intended audience" so to say. The book is compri...moreNot going to rate this one - I tried this book and realized that it just isn't for me - I am not the "intended audience" so to say. The book is comprised of four novellas, and while I did enjoy the format, the first story was the only that that kept my attention. The following three lost me quick. Perhaps I needed to know more about this universe / culture before starting in on this book (I didn't realize that there was a "Notes" section that explained some history and world-building at the end of the book until I got to the ...end of the book... that might have helped a bit).
Clearly, many people think Le Guin is a genius. She very well might be. I am willing to give it another chance - her breadth of work is SO large that I could easily pick something else. (less)
Loved the format. Great storytelling. One of the rare instances when I saw the movie BEFORE I read the book, and they are two wholly different narrati...moreLoved the format. Great storytelling. One of the rare instances when I saw the movie BEFORE I read the book, and they are two wholly different narratives - same universe perhaps, but little/if any overlap in storylines.
Completely unpredictable in every way - the narrator re-invents himself at every turn. As he globe trots, he sheds his skin and becomes someone new -...moreCompletely unpredictable in every way - the narrator re-invents himself at every turn. As he globe trots, he sheds his skin and becomes someone new - but even with these 180* shifts of location and characters, it keeps FLOWING and the reader doesn't miss a beat. How is this possible? Jansma is something special.
The book's lyrical prose and quotable passages made me giddy... like *STOP IN YOUR TRACKS and read again and smile and repeat from *.
Did this constant re-invention start as a teenager in North Carolina, assuming the identity of a wealthy heir at a debutante ball? or was it in the university days when he meets his best friend/rival? was it even earlier in childhood? Can we believe a word this guy says?
And even as the main narrator is so amorphous, it's the secondary characters who stand out in this book: The high school tennis star, the debutante, the drunk university professor, the LEOPARD, the Icelandic poet, and the stranger-on-the-train girlfriend...
Solid writing and great character development. Tak and Samira were both fully realized characters - almost like Averill was writing about friends and...moreSolid writing and great character development. Tak and Samira were both fully realized characters - almost like Averill was writing about friends and family members. There were large gaps in the "science" of this book and the idea of traveling across alternate dimensions and timelines is often referred to as "time travel", which didn't seem quite right. An engrossing read - perfect for a quiet weekend getaway.
3.5 stars - rounded up to 4 because it is worth the time for the characters alone!(less)