Xing Shi's Reviews > A Song for Arbonne

A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
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Jun 18, 11


My favorite Canadian author

Sometimes, I felt ashamed to have kindle eBook reader. Since I bought it last September to improve my English reading comprehension, except one novel, most of the time I just use it to check email or read twitter on bed.

However, recently I found a book that actually whets my appetite of reading, A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay, a Canadian author of fantasy fiction. Until now I've only finished 48% of it, but I'm absolutely sure Guy is my favourite Canadian author, even if I only know 2 in total.

I've read 2 of his books translated in Chinese before, Tigana and The Lions of al-Rassan. They are impressive efforts to create exotic ancient realms where delicately crafted story happened. But at that time as I considered all fantasies nothing but vulgar entertainment, I skimmed them so fast that I was barely moved by the stories at all.

A Song for Arbonne is a completely different experience. Although my English is good enough for read news and technical books, literature is way more difficult for me. Moreover, in this book, Guy completely showed his acclaimed adroitness of manipulating English, which, while making the story more beautiful, gives me lots of trouble of understanding what he meant. I have no choice but to slow down my reading speed and sometimes reread a sentence several times to figure out the true intention of the author. It was a weary challenge at the beginning, but after I have overcome it gradually, I started to feel reading his book a real pleasure. I found those long and complex sentences are not at all intended to show off his skills of writing. They are just natural results of the intricate feelings and ideas that he wanted to convoy to his readers. By studying them word by word, not only I did ameliorate my English reading ability, but also helped me to immerse myself into the story, to go back to hundreds of years ago, to understand the thoughts and behaviour of the characters, and to feel their pain and happiness.

Besides the poetic languages in this book, I also love Guy's attitude towards his female characters. As anyone who has basic knowledge would know, for the most part of human history, women had no control of their fate at all. They were not taken as human, but tools for reproduction, slaves for toil, and vents for sex desirability. Even daughters of noble families were usually destined to waste their entire lives as prisoners of marriages arranged by their parents. However, in A song for Arbonne, while respecting the reality of ancient world, Guy created some charming, ingenious, and impressively courageous female characters who refused to bow to their dismal fate and tried everything they could to fight back. Reading this story, you can hardly remain untouched by the courage of these fearless women. And it inspired me to feel that even in the darkest days there were still pursuing their happiness at any cost it might take.

I still don't know the ending of the story. It might be more or less miserable as Guy's books usually are. But however these characters end up, I'm pretty sure I won’t regret reading the book and writing blog to praise my favourite Canadian author, Guy Gavriel Kay.
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