"The Shadow of the Wind" is an intriguing tale, blending Gothic, historical and noir elements.
It took me a few pages to get used to Zafón's (too) orna...more"The Shadow of the Wind" is an intriguing tale, blending Gothic, historical and noir elements.
It took me a few pages to get used to Zafón's (too) ornate style and all of its details and analogies (some of them effective, some redundant), but I was soon engulfed in the story. Or stories, because there is a tale within the tale. This secondary story, which mirrors the story of the protagonist is exciting, at least the first few times it is repeated over and over again, but from different points of view. By the time we get the definitive version, though, I was growing a bit tired of it and the lengthy, unnecessarily detailed and soap-operish fashion in which it was presented did not help much.
It is, nevertheless, an enchanting and intricate story, with classic Gothic/noir motifs, some good twists (and some unnecessary and/or predictatble ones), a satisfactory ending and a promise for more.(less)
My favourite veshch about the novel have to be the glorious slang. (I have to say I feel a bit as if I cheated, because speaking a Slavic language, I...moreMy favourite veshch about the novel have to be the glorious slang. (I have to say I feel a bit as if I cheated, because speaking a Slavic language, I was able to understand most of the words without a dictionary.) In an oomny way, Burgess transforms Russian words into 'nadsat' lingo and it sounds really convincing. And the words often have a double meaning and turning хорошо into 'horrorshow', for example, is just brilliant.
(Warning, spoilers ahead!)
The story itself is oozhassny cynical. Burgess seems to think the last chapter adds moral integrity to the story, but that's cal. In fact it makes it even more cynical. The government are bratchnies, the liberal opposition are bratchnies and Alex is probably the grahzniest bratchny of all, so I can't say the author makes a good case in defending the right of free will and choice. I'd say that after murdering several people and raping women and ten year old girls, you have fucking lost that right.
The Ludovico technique would be terrible if forced upon free and innocent people, but when it comes to murderers and rapists - I don't really give a cal. Of course, the point the prison 'charlie' makes is that it is hypocrisy to say that physically restraining a person's ability to do wrong is the same as converting him to the light side. It is not, and it is something terrible. But it is also hypocrisy to call little Alex 'a victim', I don't kupet that.
Teenage violence may be cured by age, but Alex does not become a better person, he never feels regret or guilt, he remains the same selfish bratchny, his desires simply switch from ultra-violence to a wife and kid. Burgess may call that moral growth, but I don't.
But the book still works for me, because even with the 'happy' ending (which was omitted in the US version and in the film), the story can be read as a dark and cynical look upon society (without Burgess's naïve ideas about redemption from original sin), the way Kubrick read it, and I'm with him on that one. (less)
Neuromancer is probably the most influential work of art in the cyberpunk genre, even more than Philip Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?* an...moreNeuromancer is probably the most influential work of art in the cyberpunk genre, even more than Philip Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?* and Ridley Scott's Blader Runner. While reading it, I constantly stumbled across ideas, themes and terms used later on in other cyberpunk books, films, anime.
The novel itself is interesting and challenging. Gibson's style is a weird mix of hardboiled and beat literature, the sentences are energetic, but full of unusual nouns and adjectives and I often had to re-read passages in order to understand exactly what was being described. I like the fact that Gibson throws you in the middle of an unfamiliar world without explaining anything, but at times he overdoes it and the constant cyberpunk slang can get tedious. The ending was a bit disappointing, but perhaps the impact (on the world and on the characters) of all that happened would be revealed in the next parts of the trilogy.
*Cyberpunk is usually considered to have emerged around 1980, but "Do Androids..." (1968) is a classic example of a "high-tech, low-life" setting.(less)
Mary Sue Nietzsche Buddha Jesus Seagull, or Jonathan for short, is a gull. He has found a truth (flying, striving for perfection, the idea of freedom,...moreMary Sue Nietzsche Buddha Jesus Seagull, or Jonathan for short, is a gull. He has found a truth (flying, striving for perfection, the idea of freedom, the Great Gull, etc.) and is eager to follow it and share it with the other gulls. They, however, are not too happy about that. (Which is hardly surprising, normal people are not too fond of Jehova's Witnesses, for example).
Eventually he finds other gulls like himself and becomes so good at flying that he basically turns into the gull equivalent of Neo. Those poor gulls, still trapped in Gull Matrix are presented as ignorant and hostile, and not even for a moment does Richard Bach suggest that there might be other truths, that every gull is free to find a truth for itself. No, gulls are not free to choose how to become free, they have to follow Jonathan's mind-liberating courses in flying/freedom. And those who do not want to are condescendingly looked down upon (but with love, of course).
Overall, the book presents the reader, rather bluntly, with a not very well written message about New Age pseudo-Buddhist nonsense. I recommend it only if you are high, fifteen, or living in the 70's.(less)