I'm having a hard time finding the wording to write a review worthy of this book. Beautiful. King's writing is sharp and lovely at the same time. TheI'm having a hard time finding the wording to write a review worthy of this book. Beautiful. King's writing is sharp and lovely at the same time. The characters were both frustratingly flawed and deeply sympathetic. Through the lens of cultural anthropology in some of its earliest years, King reflects on the nature of humanity as a whole and on the singular, close-up views of our characters. I was left at the end feeling ... bedraggled. The passions of the characters were so vivid, and led to so many bad results, and yet... and yet...
I haven't felt this grateful to have gone into archaeology (instead of cultural anthro) since reading Return to Laughter. I'm much more comfortable when the subjects I'm studying can't sass back, and an error of scientific judgment is more likely to lead to an academic upbraiding than the loss of life or delicate cultural resources. Gads.
I was trying to decide if this book could be easily recommended to anyone, or if you need a little background in all this business to really appreciate it, but I think the human drama King depicts is universal on a very basic level - so, give it a try, my bookish friends. ...more
Hmm. Where's the reader's guide? I'd like to book club this one. I want opinions on what the heck this book was about, what the conclusions ("conclusiHmm. Where's the reader's guide? I'd like to book club this one. I want opinions on what the heck this book was about, what the conclusions ("conclusions") meant, and what I should believe.
This is a book wholly situated in the world of ambiguity, and while I can admire that, it does not usually compel me to love a story. So 3.5 stars for this book, because I really admire it, but I could not bring myself to REALLY like it.
The characters' moral compasses were a bit a-whirl, perhaps thrown off true north by the Dune Sea, perhaps simply because they are humans trying to survive in a difficult world. Luz, the protagonist, was especially difficult for me to sympathize with as she acted, in turns, selfishly, lazily, idiotically, and nobly. Or was it really noble?
What was Levi? Prophet? Charlatan? Scientist? Scam artist? Dowser? Hooligan? Was everything he preached a beloved lie? Then what bit Ig?
Ig Ig Ig... was she a symbol? Of what? I've never been good at this game without promptings from those who have tread the allusatory trails before me.
Why did Ray love Luz so much?
Dune Sea: symbol or metaphor? Maybe an actual character itself?
What does the title tell us about the most important themes of the book? (Okay, now I'm just writing English Class questions - but seriously - someone should tell me.)
Why did Luz do what she did at the end? Was she in her right mind then? Was she in her right mind at any point through the book?
Perhaps I shouldn't even be leaving a review on a book that still needs so much digestion. ...more
I'm deeply conflicted about this book. On the one hand, it is beautifully written in a poetic style that suits the nature of the poet narrator, and teI'm deeply conflicted about this book. On the one hand, it is beautifully written in a poetic style that suits the nature of the poet narrator, and tells truths about the human spirit and condition with honesty and compassion. On the other hand, things that accomplish the above often leave me feeling uncomfortably self-aware. This story, in particular, dug into the challenges facing a creative soul, and the way every decision in our lives affects all remaining possibilities for our lives. It struck a little too close to home at times. Instead of remaining an impartial observer, I found myself identifying perhaps a little too closely with the protagonist, and becoming frustrated with her when she made decisions that I wouldn't have made. I don't like what the author's decision not to name her says about questions of female identity, particularly given that halfway through the novel she begins calling her "Mrs. Caldwell," as if her identity as the wife of someone matters in a way that her personal, first-name identity never did. If you're not going to name a protagonist, don't name her at all. Unless the point was that we can only be defined by the consequences of our actions, and there's no such thing as self-determinism...?
tldr: Beautiful but maybe too philosophical for my tastes. ...more
Had a little trouble getting into this one, but once the background mythology was out of the way, the voice of Loki became very engaging. This is my fHad a little trouble getting into this one, but once the background mythology was out of the way, the voice of Loki became very engaging. This is my first prolonged exposure to Norse mythology, so I can't comment in any way on how the mythology is interpreted, in comparison with more traditional sources, but this telling was enjoyable and presented in a well-connected narrative thread. I understood the loves and hates and motivations of Loki, and the other characters through his lens. The bits at the end, where prophesies are all reaching fulfillment, got a little thick and my interest started to wane again. Granted, at that point, I was also getting on towards Hour 10 of a long-ass day in the car, so that might have been an attention fatigue issue....more
This was a charming book about things that don't interest me (football and living on a farm). It was recommended on the strength of the audio narratioThis was a charming book about things that don't interest me (football and living on a farm). It was recommended on the strength of the audio narration, which I agree, Rachel, was delightful. Halfway through the book I found myself a little bored, but by the end I was engaged with the characters and cheering for their happy endings. Since it was a self-contained story (THANK YOU), I probably won't pick up the next one, but it was a pleasant, easy read to kill some pre-vacation chores. ...more