For a play-by-play review of the book, I enjoyed reading (and largely agreed with) Ron Charles' Washington Post piece on David Mitchell's newest book:For a play-by-play review of the book, I enjoyed reading (and largely agreed with) Ron Charles' Washington Post piece on David Mitchell's newest book: http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...
The first 2/3 of the book were very enjoyable, I enjoyed the spiraling stories shifting in time and location, with the common thread of a girl/woman (Holly Sykes). My favorite narrative follows Crispin Hershey, an aging British writer, and his travels around the globe and chance encounters with Holly Sykes. Crispin's voice was humorous, caustic, but at the same time sympathetic, as he tried to set things straight, and atone, after years of disorder.
While the last 3rd of the book was still very readable, it's turns were so fast that it left me with (a mild case) of whiplash. I did, however, appreciate Mitchell's approach of adding in genre (specifically science fiction and fantasy, and even some dystopian young adult-flavor of the decade- kinds of tropes) into this literary tale. It worked well.
I am also a fan of Easter eggs, so I enjoy the references to characters and locations from other works, and there are several here. The most notable, the appearance of Marinus, who was also a character in Mitchell's _A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet_. ...more
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 mysticalMasterful 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. ...more
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 compriNot 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. ...more