This is the sort of tightly-interleaved story that I have come to expect, and I have the next one on pre-order so I will get it in three or so weeks,This is the sort of tightly-interleaved story that I have come to expect, and I have the next one on pre-order so I will get it in three or so weeks, because yum. Let's see how much I can say without spoiling the whole series to date...
This is a story about the different burn rates of love, and how love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. This is a story that sets up the previous two books perfectly. This is a story that makes me want to go back and read Shakespeare's sonnets, which is NOT my usual impulse, but now they have a sort of compelling narrative structure. Fanon affecting the reading of the canon. This is a story that describes my version of Hell, and perhaps owes something to The Great Divorce. This is a story with hot sex in a variety of configurations. This is a story that made me think about the problems of dangerous childbirth as it affected the decisions of married people, which I had never really thought through, before. This is a story where words are almost the only currency, and the violence all circles around silencing and ownership.
This is a lousy story to start on a Sunday evening if you were planning to be a civilized person on Monday. ...more
September is a child, and therefore Mostly Heartless.
Of course, as she has adventures in Fairyland, she falls in love with it, and in doing so, gainsSeptember is a child, and therefore Mostly Heartless.
Of course, as she has adventures in Fairyland, she falls in love with it, and in doing so, gains more heart and weight. It's hard to review a story which is very much The Hero's Journey. We all have a fair idea what will happen. The surprise lies in how beautifully it's executed, what the elaborations and allegories are. A Wyverary, soap golem, a town made entirely of fabric, witches who are probably an homage to Madeleine L'Engle.
"But that was magic, which could be undone, and this was scissors, which could not."
Even in Fairyland, there are things you cannot change or take back or transmute. Your choices matter, and your kindness matters, and keeping your promises matters.
As usual with Valente, I want to quote all the passages. I love what this woman can do with prose, I tell you what.
Read if: You love the fantastic worlds of Valente. You want to read about the difference between not wearing clothes and being naked. You'd like a chewy vocabulary-rich bedtime story.
I bought this for my son, who I think will enjoy manga. I read it first so I would have some hope of answering his questions.
I thought the first volumI bought this for my son, who I think will enjoy manga. I read it first so I would have some hope of answering his questions.
I thought the first volume did a good job of presenting the character and showing why he feels alienated and like acting out. The supporting characters evolved over the course of the volume. I could follow the fight scenes, which was impressive because it's a problem I have with all graphical storytelling.
Read if: you are looking for a substantial but not-too-adult entrance to manga.
Skip if: you don't think you can learn to read right-to-left....more
Oh. My. God. These are not the books for you if you are intolerant of literary wankery. I would also like to point out that I suspect they will make mOh. My. God. These are not the books for you if you are intolerant of literary wankery. I would also like to point out that I suspect they will make more sense if you have a grounding in the changing nature of God. If you do love literary fiction, this is an excellent example of the genre.
Oh, the heartbreaking beauty of this book. I devoured it in a day. Which, given that it's a 400-pg book and it was a work day, you can see that I did pretty much nothing else. And political intrigue! And delicious foreshadowing! And the lovely conceit that all stories are true, somewhere, and that they affect the reality of Fairie. I mean, that's been touched on before, but this one is deliciously effectively used. ---- "No," Kit answered. "He could have been forgiven. Anyone can be forgiven, who repents. Faustus had opportunity, time, and chance to repent, again and again and again. But he never meant to. Never meant to repent, my lord [spoiler]." :Then what was his fatal flaw, Sir Poet?: Lucifer's eyes sparkled. He tilted his head aside, lovelocks drifting against the exquisite curve of his neck. Enjoying the game. " 'But Faustus' offence can ne'er be pardoned,' " Kit quoted. "The serpent that tempted Eve may be saved, but not Faustus.' Faustus' flaw was the sin of Judas, who deemed his transgression too great to repent of, and thereby diminished the love of God, who can forgive any offense, so long as the sinner wishes forgiveness. Faustus sinned by hubris." --- That! That right there! That's what made me twitter that I was crying, because it is so perfectly correct, so true, so chewy in the intersection of theology and literature. Believing you are unforgiveable is to diminish God's love. :waves arms madly.
Um, yeah. Start with Ink & Steel. Don't blame me if you have to take a day off. ...more
This novel stands almost independent of the Pride and Prejudice roots. There is no interaction with Elizabeth Bennet. However, there is a ripping mystThis novel stands almost independent of the Pride and Prejudice roots. There is no interaction with Elizabeth Bennet. However, there is a ripping mystery, and some really quite good introspections on the nature of faith, obligation, and duty.
If you are allergic to Christianity, this book will probably give you hives, because Darcy is unapologetically a believer.
Not so much a romance as a country-house story. ...more
If you stopped with this series because the second one (A Grand Tour) didn't grab you, you should know that the third one is once again more naturallyIf you stopped with this series because the second one (A Grand Tour) didn't grab you, you should know that the third one is once again more naturally epistolary, and the book benefits from it.
I was especially amused by all the babysitting details. It stands to reason these people would have... interesting children. ...more
This is a book I am not allowed to read in bed, as my husband is opposed to books that make me cackle while he's trying to sleep.
" According to doctorThis is a book I am not allowed to read in bed, as my husband is opposed to books that make me cackle while he's trying to sleep.
" According to doctors, therapists, and his ex-wife, Landsman drinks to medicate himself, tuning the tubes and crystals of his moods with the crude hammer of hundred-proof plum brandy. But the truth is that Landsman only has two moods: working and dead. ...He has the memory of a convict, the balls of a fireman, and the eyesight of a housebreaker. When there is crime to fight, Landsman tears around Sitka like a man with his pant leg caught on a rocket. It's like theres a film score playing behind him, heavy on the castanets."
Our hero, detective Landsman, has spend the night in his partner's bed. Which was invaded by small children. It was not restful. Upon rising, he speaks to his hostess
" You have a serious toenail problem among your youth," Landsman says. "Also something, I think it might be a sea otter, died and is rotting in the little one's diaper."
Chabon is never going to convince me that he has NOT shared a bed with a four-year old at some point.
" Every generation loses the messiah it has failed to deserve.
I finished it up yesterday. At then end, all the plot lines slammed together is a frothy stew of of beautiful coincidence. This book caters to my known preferences for character-based writing with a coherent plot. Nothing that happened was out of character, and the writing was lyrical and expressive.
I think the theme of this book is redemption. There is a running chess motif. Landsman's heart is described as making a "knight move in his chest", which is really evocative. I thought the last third of the book was a little slow, but I ripped through it at a pretty good pace, so it's not like it was so sludge-slow.
One of the interesting things I noticed was that I was unclear on when exactly the story was set. There were more and more clues, but it started like it could have been an alternate history Maltese Falcon, and as the story goes on, it becomes more and more firmly seated in time.
Read this if: you like alternate ethnography and history, if you have a burning need for more Yiddish flavor in your life, if you are a fan of chess, character-based writing, or weird lyricism. Avoid if: you hate ambiguous endings, "artistic" writing, noir, or hats ...more
My mom is a pastor, not a chaplain (they are related, but not identical), and I see her do a lot of this work, the work of sitting with someone and noMy mom is a pastor, not a chaplain (they are related, but not identical), and I see her do a lot of this work, the work of sitting with someone and not knowing the answers. It's hard. There are no good answers.
This was a really hard book to read. Bad things happen to lots of nice people, especially children. As someone who had to give up on some shows (Cold Case and SVU, I'm looking at you) because now that I have kids, they are just too scary. and as you might expect, sometimes little kids die in the woods. Not always -- there are stories in here where no one dies, or is hurt. There are little bits of her life (I am amazed at her ability to be a single parent AND be on-call.)
Interestingly, the author's faith journey, while evident, is not explicated. She doesn't talk about how she came to believe, or even what she believes. The most significant story about faith was about her realization that she hadn't had a religious epiphany, that her scientific faith had not been taken from her by an involuntary mystical experience. I liked that. I appreciate stories where love and humanity are marks of the Divine. Her journey is not road-to-Emmaeus, although it is full of roads.
Read this if: you wish people of faith were more humble, if you want a non-Jodi-Picoult view of widowhood, if you've never thought about who fishes unlucky snowmobilers out of the water Do not read: without a sufficient supply of kleenex, if your faith is threatened by a chaplain who doesn't believe in an afterlife, if you can't handle people dying ...more
I wish I were a college professor of gender studies. This would be an awesome text about One Artist's Perception of Gender Duality. What, you never goI wish I were a college professor of gender studies. This would be an awesome text about One Artist's Perception of Gender Duality. What, you never got assigned 800-pg novels? Or maybe I could assign my hapless students to read it in opposition to His Dark Materials. At least those come in smaller packets. This is a big, epic book, with big crazy sex, and divinities familiar and alien. I find the central love story a little unconvincing, but the crazy details are richly ornamental. It's like a Fabrege egg of a story, or like one of thone huge crazy sugar Easter egg dioramas where you look through this tiny hole and keep seeing more and more, and one of the things you see is a tiny sugar egg..... and in it is a dog in a chef's hat carrying a can of dogfood on a tray*. I like this book. It is not for everyone. If you never made it through long tedious fantasy novels which we could mention, don't bother. If gnosticism bothers you, say no. There are rapes, dead children, and dead gods. It is, to me, a compelling story.
*If you get that reference, you get a biscuit. ...more
Well.... the cyberpunk isn't bad. She's no Melissa Scott (Trouble and Her Friends (although I wondered if the woman wearing matched mauve scarf and shWell.... the cyberpunk isn't bad. She's no Melissa Scott (Trouble and Her Friends (although I wondered if the woman wearing matched mauve scarf and shoes was a nod in Cerise's direction). But the cyberpunk parts were not bad.
The religion caused me to grind my teeth. SEXY BLUE JEAN-WEARING ANGELS. And now they want to have sex with me and suck my blood. Oh, wait, my bad, that was Laurel K. Hamilton. I guess we'll just stick with sex. It's a near-future theocratic dystopia. Which, you know, has been done. But the idea that because it is dangerous and unlawful, people stop having sex.... what? No! Also, also! Did the cop-partner have to have an Irish brogue? Srsly?
But if you have a yen for investigations of the nature of angels, try A Wind in the Door, and if you want an interesting Satan, Hell and Earth: A Novel of the Promethean Age (The Stratford Man), and you would get a more sophisticated view of theodicy from The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin & Hobbes).
We own the sequel, and I really really doubt I'll ever find the time to read it. ...more
Have you ever eaten Vosges Chocolates? (if not, I recommend you do so!) You read the bar description, and it's like... "mushroom....chocolate?" It's wHave you ever eaten Vosges Chocolates? (if not, I recommend you do so!) You read the bar description, and it's like... "mushroom....chocolate?" It's weird. And it's so intense and unique and you can only eat so much at a time. You really only want like, a truffle, or a square.
Cat Valente's Palimpsest is a little like that.
"To touch a person...to sleep with a person...is to become a pioneer," she whispered then, "a frontiersman at the edge of their private world, the strange, incomprehensible world of their interior, filled with customs you could never imitate, a language, which sounds like your own but it is really totally foreign, knowable only to them. I have been so many times to countries like that. I have learned how to make coffee in all their ways, how to share food, how to comfort, how to dance in the native ways."
You can't read paragraphs like that all in a gulp. They require a little cogitating.
What Valente excels at in this book is worldbuilding. There is a plot, and it even has a beginning and a middle and an end. There are characters, and they are not unsympathetic. But they sort of exist to showcase the world, which is amazing. I love the conceit of the book, the way the world unfolds in front of you. it's a tiny bit like falling into Imajica, but, if possible, weirder. Or differently weird. A factory that creates biomechanical pests/spies. A river of clothes and fog. A church of silence. Trains that rut and mate and run wild. It is a sad and lonely book, in a lot of ways, with a lot of lost people in the world yearning for something that they cannot have, a heaven beyond their reach.
Read if: You enjoy floral prose shading to florid, you love exquisite and delicate otherworldliness. You are lonely and in search of something. You have ever sought to connect with people using your body. You like the kind of story that follows separate threads until they ultimately collide.
Skip if: Ornate language annoys you. You will be uncomfortable about sex as a means to an end, as anonymous, as sometimes a punishment. You want a strong narrative line. You read books for character development....more