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Vellum by Hal Duncan
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's review
Aug 10, 2011

it was amazing

Pretty much the definitive 'Marmite' book, but if you want to your ideas of narrative stucture challenged, then this is the book for you.

Flexible chronological structure is cool nowadays, but Duncan flips between timelines and realities without even changing paragraphs, weaving together multiple narratives to tell ancient myths to a new audience while also telling his own, thrilling story that jumps from quiet love story to thrilling techno action adventure, often on the same page.

The narrative structure isn't just a gimmick though; Duncan raises questions about language and the nature of stories throughout the book (and it's sequel, Ink, just as impressive). About half the book consists of retellings or re-enactments of ancient stories, showing how we constantly re-use the same old ideas again and again.

Not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination - quite apart from the textual complexity, there are some distinctly uncomfortable and graphic scenes, but if you're willing to take the time, you may just come to love it.

Highly recommended.
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