I don't know that I'm able to do this wonderful novel justice. But this is one of the best novels I've read in years. Highly recommended!
Pierce MoffetI don't know that I'm able to do this wonderful novel justice. But this is one of the best novels I've read in years. Highly recommended!
Pierce Moffett has lost his job as a history professor. While travelling to interview at another school, the bus he's on breaks down in a place called Faraway Hills and he runs in to a former student who now tends sheep.
Rosie Mucho's marriage is falling apart. As an escape, she turns to the historical fiction of the (fictional) local writer, Fellowes Kraft. These stories frequently involved a young William Shakespeare and the philosopher/astronomer/astrologist/occultist John Dee.
Pierce decides to move to Faraway Hills and his paths cross with Rosie and the novels of Fellowes Kraft. So begins a wonderful, beautifully written novel (the first in a four part series) about a man who starts to understand that history is more than just a list names and dates; that there is more than one history of the world.
3 stars. An entertaining read with some interesting takes on folktales/fairytales. Recommended for fans of pulp fantasy and the Witcher video game ser3 stars. An entertaining read with some interesting takes on folktales/fairytales. Recommended for fans of pulp fantasy and the Witcher video game series....more
In his review in the Guardian, Michael Schnaub had this to say about The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May, "Authors do not have a responsibiliIn his review in the Guardian, Michael Schnaub had this to say about The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May, "Authors do not have a responsibility to write easy books. But the problem with The Familiar isn’t that it’s difficult; it’s that it’s unreadable." With all do respect to Mr. Schnaub, I very much disagree. Yes, Mr. Danielweski makes the reader work but this is very readable. For me, it was compulsively readable, I couldn't wait until I had a few extra minutes to dive back in.
This novel was very much like the pilot episode of a serial tv show. It introduces you to characters and the world they inhabit and it starts to set up a plot, which I think involves a kitten and possibly some type of orb device that can possibly predict the future(?). There are nine different characters (if I recall correctly) who are introduced in their own chapters. Some of the characters are in LA but not all. Other characters live in Mexico, Texas or Singapore. Some (but not all) characters have obvious connections; like Xanther (a young twelve or thirteen year old girl), Astair (Xanther's mom) and Anwar (Xanther's step-dad). I expect the connections between characters will become more clear as the series continues.
The author does makes you work but, for me anyway, the payoff is worth the effort. And honestly, it is not like Gravity's Rainbow amount of effort. Some sections might require you to have Google running so you can search some Singlish phrases (per Wikipedia: Singlish is the English-based creole or patois spoken colloquially in Singapore). A section in the middle of the novel introduces the reader to a Narcon, a narrative construct. Even though this section of the book has the Narcon explain its function and its operating parameters, I'm still not exactly sure what it is. But this is only part one of a mutli part story. I expect I will better understand the Narcon as the story goes on.
One additional comment I will make is in regards to format: print vs ebook. I do a lot of reading on e-book these days, mainly for the convenience factor. I've never tried to read a Danielewski novel as an e-book but I would think it would be a very different expierence. Danielewski likes to have the reader maniupulate the book, turn it sideways or upside down. He will arrange words on the page in diffeerent ways. He also uses the page in interesting ways, certain words of his text can be in different colors, he uses different fonts to identify different characters, he (or his collaborators) turn words into artwork. Some pages may have only a single word. If a characters is walking up the stairs, the words are arranged to mimic the action. For me, the way he uses the page engage me, it brings me deeper into the story and the characters. I think a Danielewski novel is something that is meant to be consumed in print edition. ...more