I enjoyed this so much until I didn't anymore. Meg Carpenter is her late thirties, barely scraping by writing book reviews and ghost writing formulaicI enjoyed this so much until I didn't anymore. Meg Carpenter is her late thirties, barely scraping by writing book reviews and ghost writing formulaic adventure novels for teenagers. She has a wonderful dog, a terrible boyfriend, an impossible love interest, and a handful of friends who make bad decisions. She's supposed to be writing a novel, for which she received an advance fourteen years ago, and she's written it and deleted it more times than she can count. She has a bee in her bonnet about narrative structure and what it means, and she talks about it all the time with incredible fervor, while being unable to write herself out of the corner that is her life. She is likable and good company and she has a little magic in her.
Scarlett Thomas is full of knowledge on countless subjects, including physics, philosophy, literature, knitting, homeopathy, anthropology and various religions. Reading her novels always expands my To Read list by several titles, not least so that I can get a better grasp of what she's saying. But golly she has a problem with soft endings. I'm not going to say the story is unsatisfying, because this particular book makes it very clear from the nearly beginning that it's not going to be a finished kind of story. I wasn't looking for any of her threads or events or tangents to be resolved, because they're all profoundly human unfinished things and part of what I enjoyed so much about reading this was the familiarity of perpetually unanswerable questions and unresolved relationships. But there's a storyline that got a little too spongy for me, and without being giving spoilers I think that's about all I can say about it. I wish she'd just left the tantalizing threads sprinkled throughout and not tried to bring it to the forefront at the end. I went along, pleased and intrigued in a sort of bracing sea air, catching the hint of something deeper and mysterious in the wind and then suddenly in the last fifteen pages the scent of mystery got overpowering and claustrophobic and I found my feet sinking into a mire and companion saying "and there you have it, I'll just be on my way now!" I think it would have been a stronger novel if she'd just stopped narrating events, as if one were looking through a window while walking past it, and then the view disappeared.
This series is so fun. Hardboiled detective fiction meets intricately imagined AI scifi. Well written, great vocabulary and truly likable complex charThis series is so fun. Hardboiled detective fiction meets intricately imagined AI scifi. Well written, great vocabulary and truly likable complex characters....more
Look. I love the art and the variety of voices in this series, and the secondary characters are some of the realest, most memorable work I've seen. BuLook. I love the art and the variety of voices in this series, and the secondary characters are some of the realest, most memorable work I've seen. But I am cranky about the witch thing. I wish it was anything else, really. I would love a series with this interesting mix of (literally) well-drawn women that didn't fucking go to a witch place. Harrumph....more