Andrew's Reviews > Palimpsest

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jul 18, 11

bookshelves: read-2011
Read from May 23 to July 18, 2011

Boring metaphorical surrealistic tripe.

Palimpsest is a fantastical city one visits in their dreams, providing they've had unprotected sex with someone who has a tattoo of some part of the city on their body. Once this occurs, that person then has their own tattoo of a portion of Palimpsest. Each dream trip to the city requires such a coupling. For me, this book was no more interesting than the STD it seems to represent.

The characters are so desperate to reach Palimpsest they are willing to debase themselves, performing sexual acts their character would never normally consider. Their "plight" is utterly unsympathetic, none of them is living in such horrible real-world conditions that their imagined need to escape to a better place is understandable. I simply can't empathize with any of the characters; they come across as entitled whiners who will do anything to get what they want.

The only things this book has going for it is the incredible use of metaphor and the surrealistic landscape of Palimpsest itself. Even that statement requires clarification, however. The metaphorical prose was fascinating for the first 50 pages then became so grating fingernails on a chalkboard would be a welcome relief. I had the impression Palimpsest's surrealistic landscape was supposed to be Valente's modern spin on Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast. Yet, much like eating a McDonald's Happy Meal when I really want a filet mignon, I was left sadly disappointed.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Palimpsest.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.