Well, this book hit the wall. Or rather, my 75 pages limit, with a vengeance. And I'm done.
Never Let Me Go by Kazua Ishiguro has been lauded as one of...more Well, this book hit the wall. Or rather, my 75 pages limit, with a vengeance. And I'm done.
Never Let Me Go by Kazua Ishiguro has been lauded as one of the best books of the decade. It's "Brilliant!". It's "A tour de force!" Frankly, in my experience, it's a "BOYS" book. Allow me to explain.
I've worked for five years in an independent book store. For a while during that stint there were a couple of men who worked in the fiction contingent we affectionately dubbed "The Boys". The Boys liked their fiction. More appropriately they liked the old man brigade of literature that contemporary fiction is based upon... and nothing else. If the author was old, or dead, or male and liked to write these long-winded diatribes about everything (and nothing) in tandem the boys would eat it up with a spoon. Mind you, many of these authors they loved are probably good but they were only good in the strictest literary sense of the word. What they often lack is heart and soul even though the words are beautiful.
The boys also believe that Genre Fiction, specifically Science Fiction and Fantasy, is "lesser" fiction because it follows characters with swords or spaceships. Unless a book is "literary" science fiction, and that still ranks too low for their "refined" sensibilities. And I still have not forgiven them for that.
Never Let Me Go is a boys' book. It reads beautifully, but it has no soul. I don't have a lot to say about the actual book because I made it to my usual 75 page limit and decided to stop. The most interesting thing to happen in the entire first 75 pages was the scandal surrounding a pencil-case and how the one character acquired it. Yeah, it's that dry. Anything that is interesting in the dialogue or story is totally washed by the fact that it takes so damn long to get to the bloody point. It's also very hard to maintain concentration, or get back into the book, if you get interrupted during the read.
The other major problem is this - the reveal of the story was heavily used in the marketing campaign promoting the book. For the last couple of years I have heard about this book from various patrons, publisher reps, and reviews that talk about what these characters are. This is a ridiculous piece of work. You do not reveal the only really interesting thing about the book preemptively. It kills the mood for the book. Why tell everybody what these characters are? The main oomph is usually the reveal. Why destroy that?
I can't recommend this book. See the movie. I will be. Other than that the book is not good. 1 out of 5 stars. Too "literary" for my taste and not enough Science Fiction.
Oryx and Crake is the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood. This marks my first venture into reading Atwood. I know that most people...more Oryx and Crake is the first book in the MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood. This marks my first venture into reading Atwood. I know that most people start with The Handmaid’s Tale but I began here with this odd, little book.
Oryx and Crake follows Snowman, a man who may be the last human on Earth. A plague has beset mankind leaving a race of people called the Crakers alive. The Crakers view Snowman as a potential leader since he has given them a bit of history to build their world upon. But it’s all a lie. Snowman knows what really happened and it’s all because of Crake.
Before the pandemic wiped out the population Snowman was Jimmy, a boy who was friends with Glenn. Jimmy and Glenn grew up in a world dominated by corporations, by soy products and internet feeds of data and reality television. Glenn sees a potential future buried in Science but Jimmy turns his sights to a girl named Oryx who haunts him from a world away.
This is, without a doubt, a queer, strange book. It’s an every person’s book. I haven’t read anything like this and yet so much of its nature was familiar to me. Speculative fiction takes potential outcomes of the future and twists it based on what is already happening. Atwood does just that, twists a possible outlook. And she wrings your heart out while doing it.
Much of what happens in the book is massive plot spoilers for those who haven’t read it so I won’t go into depth about the how and the why. But it’s an intense character driven and utterly profound read, and I am deeply disturbed by the suggestions in this book.