The incredible mixture of fantasy, history, Chinese legends, mythology, and even comical situations, concocted withAn Ancient China that Never Was...
The incredible mixture of fantasy, history, Chinese legends, mythology, and even comical situations, concocted with a pleasing style makes this book a 5 star. The story surprises you with unsuspected turns, but you enjoy them the most, so you just sit and relish in which way the story delightfully evolves and entangle more and more, because you do not want it to finish.
You would have loved to be in that China...as everybody else.
I admit it: this book is one of my favorites. Also, as most of Connie Willis, this is a difficult one to shelve. It is a mixed proportion of Sci-Fi, hI admit it: this book is one of my favorites. Also, as most of Connie Willis, this is a difficult one to shelve. It is a mixed proportion of Sci-Fi, historical novel and fiction. However, the concoction is a superb novel, whether you like science-fiction or not.
If you read the description and are waiting for some knights, sword clashes and standard easy best-selling story in the Middle-Ages you are misled. Look somewhere else. If you are looking for hard Sci-Fi time travel book, look somewhere else. If you are waiting for a mysterious thrilling story that you try hard to foretell its ending before it comes, look somewhere else. Mostly, you will be able to figure how it will end. If you are looking for much action. Look somewhere else.
So, what is this book about? I like the editor's description: it is about "the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.". I know it is something general to say. But it is the same thing as to think that "The Searchers" is just about "Indians and Cowboys". If you think that, just skip both Willis' book and Ford's film and look somewhere else.
Characters in Connie Willis' novels always feel very close and not at all as if they have nothing to do with ourselves. She explores deeply in the motivations, drives, pains and sentiments of the human character. Masterfully. It is true that she feels comfortable in a near sci-fi background, but do not fool yourself into thinking that that background is what leads the story. It is just stage, a suitable setting.
Do not miss it.
June/2014: After a second re-read, there are not any more surprises left for the two main plots, but many little things are found or just discovered anew. You realise that everything is there, even if you where not aware the first (or second) time. And I like more the way it starts, with little introduction: it is like plunging unaware in a cold, freezing pond and as twice as refreshing and captivating.
My first Murakami's book and I have a special feeling for it. It discovered the most intriguing, disturbing and fascinating writer for me to date. I cMy first Murakami's book and I have a special feeling for it. It discovered the most intriguing, disturbing and fascinating writer for me to date. I confess that any Murakami's book is exhausting and it also perturbs your mind and soul in a very special and not wrong ways. The style, the story and the set of mind of his characters affects mine. So I have to put an exact dose of Murakami just in once in a while.
In any case, A Wild Sheep Chase seems to me the best first approach to this exceptional writer. It gives you more fascination than disturbance, leaving the latter in a right small amount. Enough to lure you into another Murakami's books. ...more