Definitely a challenge to read, and it's always odd to go back to game-changers when you're already used to the concepts they invented. I can't claim...moreDefinitely a challenge to read, and it's always odd to go back to game-changers when you're already used to the concepts they invented. I can't claim to have followed everything (the plot was a bit convoluted, and folded it on itself), and the ending left me dissatisfied, but I did ultimately enjoy it.(less)
The prose in the book was elegant. I enjoyed some of the author's phrasing. But it bothers me that he explained obvious metaphors to death, while leav...moreThe prose in the book was elegant. I enjoyed some of the author's phrasing. But it bothers me that he explained obvious metaphors to death, while leaving vague moments totally incomprehensible. Plus far too many women were fridged, and the time jumps were annoying, and there was no logical connection between people's words and actions.(less)
This book contains interesting stories, and interesting ideas. It is a shame that the author felt the need to hide them in meditation and prose. Still...moreThis book contains interesting stories, and interesting ideas. It is a shame that the author felt the need to hide them in meditation and prose. Still, I'd suggest it, if you've looking for an honest examination of poverty, how the peasant's lives continue in spite of it, and the role state power plays in maintaining that poverty.(less)
I had to read this for my science fiction course. I guess the futuristic setting, sparse use of advanced technologies, and post-apocalyptic setting ma...moreI had to read this for my science fiction course. I guess the futuristic setting, sparse use of advanced technologies, and post-apocalyptic setting makes this book 'science fiction'. With the intense focus on spirituality and magic, however, I think it leans more towards fantasy.
Anyway. It started out slow, and Ti-Jeanne's obsessive love for Tony, her dead-beat baby daddy, is incredibly exasperating. However, the climax of the book was exciting, and I enjoyed how the book explored the ties of family, especially between mother and daughter. As well, it's always interesting to read books set close to home.(less)
On the positive side, this book did have interesting ideas. It unfolded nicely over a span of several years, cataloging changes and effects -- showing...moreOn the positive side, this book did have interesting ideas. It unfolded nicely over a span of several years, cataloging changes and effects -- showing economic downturn, how people's way of living changed. There were moments when I was engaged, and interested in what was going to happen next.
But I found these moments were few and far between. I couldn't stand the narrator -- the kind of guy who screws up his first marriage, and manages to shakily repair his relationship with his daughter, barring a few mishaps. Maybe that archetype just hit too close to home. Nothing very much seems to happen, in between the Chronoliths touching down. It appears to be building to a conflict that never really happens.
And the violence... Men get hurt, and tortured -- but of course it's always worse for the women. There's a semi-graphic rape scene, and whenever a woman gets into a bad situation, rape is always part of the violence. Realistic or not, I found that unsettling.
The book is worth checking out, for ideas of time travel/paradox/destiny -- but I found it dull. The ending -- and much of the book itself -- was unsatisfactory.(less)
So, I have some problems with this book. They mainly stream from the heavy use of male narration/the male gaze, as well as the piling on of themes unt...moreSo, I have some problems with this book. They mainly stream from the heavy use of male narration/the male gaze, as well as the piling on of themes until the foundation started to wobble.
Still, more or less, the story fragments kept me interested, and the book even got a few chuckles out of me. I actually think I prefer the fragments to the main plot line -- I'm not sure if the author would be pleased by that, or disappointed.
Mainly, my high rating comes from how interesting said fragments were -- I wish some would have panned out into longer stories, even if that's missing the point.(less)
There are a lot of really interesting ideas here, especially considering when the book was written. But the endless preaching of info-dumps is t...moreTL;DR.
There are a lot of really interesting ideas here, especially considering when the book was written. But the endless preaching of info-dumps is tiring. Plus, there's the same old "travel to a new place, gosh their girls are pretty, oh look the love of my live!" romance side-plot.
It's especially squicky because the girl idolized him when growing up, and also partially believes herself [[SPOILERS]] to be the reincarnation of his past almost-wife. Which I find sad, because she should be her own person, not this distant figure.
I'm definitely going to have to come back and give this book a closer reading some time, but as it stands, getting through it was a chore.(less)
Okay. So this book is at it's most brilliant when demonstrating how men see women, and proving that gender/femininity is a social construction.
However...moreOkay. So this book is at it's most brilliant when demonstrating how men see women, and proving that gender/femininity is a social construction.
However, it also falls flat due to the over-generalizations.
Apparently, all women like cats, because dogs are "man's best friend" -- not woman's. And somehow, the women don't care about sex or love -- they only want to raise children.
These make sense within the book, due to generations of breeding and social conditioning, I guess, but it's still aggravating.
The male characters tend to be flat, and of course there is the obligatory awkward-as-hell romance. It's very information heavy, but for the most part, the narrative makes up for it.
So yes, an interesting read, and it's easy to see how it's a significant feminist text. It reminded me of Tiptree's stories, The Women Men Don't See, and Houston Houston Do You Read, which is always a good thing.
I think I still prefer Y: The Last Man, when it comes to all women 'utopias'.(less)
Valuable as a historical document, not so much as a piece of literature. The author tells instead of showing. As well, I found the language to be clun...moreValuable as a historical document, not so much as a piece of literature. The author tells instead of showing. As well, I found the language to be clunky, but perhaps that's unfair of me, considering English is probably the author's second/third/etc language.(less)
For a brief time, towards the end of the novel, I was actively enjoying reading it. A bit before that, it was at least tolerable. But with the late ga...moreFor a brief time, towards the end of the novel, I was actively enjoying reading it. A bit before that, it was at least tolerable. But with the late game-changing plot-twist, the book lost me.
The novel is about the life of a person who is biologically born (and identifies)as a (cis) man. Then, when he wakes up on his 18th birthday, he discovers he has turned into a biological/cis female, and begins identifying as such.
There is no surprise, no change of psyche. She just goes "oh huh I'm a girl now. Ok." Later, when she re-encounters her aunt, who knew her as a man, the aunt isn't surprised or reacts either.
We never learn this person's name, except an offhand mention that it is androgynous and can work for a man or a woman.
Before the sex change, we're lead through his childhood and early experiences. This includes his growth through puberty and frequent masturbation. Which I found very tiring to read about.
The first part of the novel does do some work on gender/gender roles/the differences between the genders/sexes (the novel considers them to be pretty much the same thing). These themes are discarded after the sex change.
Rather, it beings to follow the woman's relationships through her time at university, getting her BA, and life afterward.
At one part, when she's 21, she encounters a forty something woman traveling alone in Greece. They hit it off, and soon become lovers.
There is an interesting section while they travel through Turkey, and the narrator describes living under the male gaze/being subjected to sexual harassment due to men who through they were entitled to her body.
Despite being/identifying as a woman at this point, the text never refers to her relationship with the other woman as a lesbian one.
On the other hand, when she begins to have sex with men, she thinks of it as a homosexual/gay relationship, even though on the surface and as far as her partner's know, it's a cis/heterosexual relationship.
My favourite section of the book is when the unnamed narrator is living with Tito, the first and only person she loves. I enjoyed hearing about their happiness, loving each other, and how he buys her a hideously ugly bulldog for Christmas.
However, this is interrupted when Tito is away on the trip. While going to her office (a sparsely furnished apartment where she writes, as the narrator is a mostly unsuccessful author), she lets in a strange man who says he wants to see what it looks like inside.
He beats and rapes her.
Afterward, she returns to the apartment she shared with Tito and their dog. She has a breakdown (understandably -- and partially because she thought she was pregnant with Tito's child), and then turns back into a biological/cis man.
The narrator, now a he again, flees with the west, leaving his life (and Tito) behind, without explaining to Tito why. Earlier, the text established that Tito is straight and not attracted to men, so presumably their relationship wouldn't have survived the second sex change.
Emotionally and psychologically shattered, he loses track of time and events while traveling through the prairies. For some time, his only sexual encounters are meeting with other men in the park, and having cheap hookups (which, he mentions his rapist left him with herpes type b, and so I can't help but wonder if he spread this to his subsequent partners).
At one point, he meets a woman and begins a relationship with her. He thinks of himself as a "tepid lesbian," but they stay together. He abandons the novel he was working on before the rape, and I don't think he resumes writing.
The novel ends soon after, with the character introducing themself in gender neutral terms by their blood type, that they speak French and English, their eyes are x colour and their hair is x colour, and as a Canadian.
I didn't like the book because it was too senseless. The sex change was inane and unexplained, and the novel itself doesn't do any meaningful work on gender/sex or sexuality. So I don't really understand what the point if it was.(less)