Language. It shapes our thoughts, emotions, experiences, and even our brain development. Amakta is a part-fantasy, part-science fiction, allegory ofLanguage. It shapes our thoughts, emotions, experiences, and even our brain development. Amakta is a part-fantasy, part-science fiction, allegory of the impact of language on society. I can't be much more specific than that without giving too much away. In a nutshell, Amatka is a colony in an unknown land. Objects must be continuously "marked" or they lose their shape. I know, sounds a bit far-fetched, and aspects of this novel are exactly that, but the allegorical aspects are spot-on. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book and devoured it over the course of two days. It's quick, intriguing, insightful, and suspenseful. All that being said, the "over-the-top" aspects almost did the whole thing in for me. The ending left me thinking, "huh. huh? huh." Perhaps I lost something in the translation? Or perhaps I just don't have the brain power at this juncture to fully grasp it. I'm anxious to see more reviews and commentaries from others, so if you are reading this and have finished the book, message me and tell me what I missed!
*Warning: potential spoiler ahead*
I do want to quickly bring up one passage that gave me chills considering current events. "Still, she had found the way that seemed to work best: to use speech, writing, and thought to describe in detail something that didn't exist, to make it come into existence." Alternative facts, anyone?
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
I'm not going to lie. When I read the premise of this book, I balked. I love me some college football, but pro-sports of any kind just don't appeal toI'm not going to lie. When I read the premise of this book, I balked. I love me some college football, but pro-sports of any kind just don't appeal to me. Then I read a couple of friends' reviews, and it's part of this year's ToB (my March Madness), so I decided to give it a chance. I'm so glad I did. This was a pleasant, quick, fun read with some amazing insights into the middle-aged male brain (having never been a middle-aged male, I'm just going to assume that these insights are accurate).
My generation most likely does not remember the play, but in 1985, in a Giants-Redskins game, Joe Theismann's career came to an end when his leg came in contact with Lawrence Taylor's thigh and promptly broke into multiple pieces. Do yourself a favor and DON'T Youtube the video (I did, and I'm really regretting that impulse). Anyway, the novel tells the story of a group of 22 men who get together once a year to remake the play, each man portraying a different character each year.
In unique fashion, Bachelder has managed to create not just 1 or 2 great characters, as is typical for literary fiction, but 22 individuals, some of which get more "screen time" than others. My favorites are Charles, the psychologist (yeah that's not surprising); Derek, the only non-White member of the group; and Fat Michael, the only member of the group who has the physique and stamina to actually be a football player. Each man brings a set of concerns, fears, and bits of personality, some of which stand out more than others.
There are moments that are touching, hilarious, and even thought-provoking, not an easy feat for a 224-page book with 22 characters. A couple of my favorite nuggets:
"If your defiance reveals vulnerability, not strength, it's really not very effective defiance."
"A sidewalk revealed no history, no desire. It yielded few traces of its use. A sidewalk was prescriptive, dogmatic. A path, though, was the expression, the record, of something vital and communal. An individual, no matter how determined, could not create a dirt path. The path expressed and served the aspirations of many. It represented a kind of bottom-up history - no matter what anyone thought people might do, this was what people had done, what they did, they walked here, the dirt now so compact it did not turn to mud in the rain."
And this is precisely what the book represents, the idea that the sum of the whole is greater than it's individual parts. These 22 men, with their individual parts, come together year after year to do something that they believe is greater than themselves (yes, it's a bit melodramatic, but go with it).
So, even if you aren't a sports book fan, you will find something to enjoy in this pleasant read. And, I'll be honest, I even enjoyed the sports parts. Just don't watch the video... ...more