Kelly Flanagan's Reviews > Foreigner

Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
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's review
Jun 25, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 25 to 26, 2011

This was a difficult book. I think it was meant to be difficult,but that doesn't help now, does it? The book is about humans messing up their trajectory and ending up somewhere in the universe they never expected. After generations of trying to find home, or a viable planet, the only one there was had not only sentient people but civilized ones living in a gently industrialized way in the cities and as country folk always have in the country. But the Atevi are different in a very important way. They have 14 words for betrayal but not one for love. And like means how you feel about a salad course.As long as you were licensed for it, you could hire or be an assassin. things are far more complicated than that, but I am loathe to give more away. The human Paidhi or ambassador-translator-mediator finds himself in a position he can't understand. He has been 'sent' to the country to stay with the Aiji's (leader of the Atevi) grandmother after a botched assassination attempt on him. He can't understand if he is being punished, kidnapped or hidden away.
His lack of understanding the way of the Atevi leads to our lack of knowledge of their intent or social instincts. They don't 'associate' with a wide range of others and cannot understand the human need for politeness and 'friendship'. They do not have friends. the Paidhi's need for human warmth becomes obvious to him and he struggles with knowing it is his need and not shared with the Atevi.
the struggles I had with understanding the Atevi led to me thinking about my own ties to others and how people around me and in my circle need others and the reinforcements that become necessary.In that way I think this is an important book as it really deals with the needs we place on others and takes a blunt open approach to the subject rather than coating it in metaphors and ambiguity.
I really want to see where the series goes,as the plot alone was magnificent and kept me on edge as well, but the difficulties in understanding the Atevi is a real hindrance to me continuing.I continually tried to understand their rational, and it really seems to have gotten to me. We'll have to see.
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08/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila Beautiful review,Kelly.

Kelly Flanagan Thanks Henry, this was an easy book to enjoy and I love books that bring up edgy subjects without moralizing or becoming parables.

message 3: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila Amen!

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