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Desolation Road by Ian McDonald
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1113960
's review
Aug 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2011, science-fiction
Read from August 13 to 30, 2011

This book is similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude by G.G. Márquez, only better. It starts with the foundation of Desolation Road, a small western-like settlement in the middle of nowhere by an enigmatic Dr.Alimentado, who's working on an arcane theory of space and time. One by one we get to know the strays and castaways who trickle in and help to found the settlement. But Desolation Road isn't focused on anyone in particular, it's focus is the town itself and what transpires in it. We follow it's history from Desolation Road's birth to it's prosperous peak, and finally decline and death. It's sometimes hard to immerse into the novel due to impersonal storytelling, but the world-building itself is phenomenal, the ideas and themes intertwined through the story are interesting and magical and the author really knows how to make you appreciate the book.

For a début, the writing is very accomplished and lyrical, characters are interesting (even if a bit oversimplified in some cases, e.g. single minded obsessions that define many, if not all protagonists) and the world-building is grand. You can but wonder when you reach parts of the story like galactic guitar duels or where the self-proclaimed World's Best Snooker Player takes on Lucifer himself. Even though there's not many major events and the storytelling is detached and tranquil there's always something going on to keep things interesting. Desolation Road is Magic Realism incarnate. Recommended.
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Reading Progress

08/19/2011 page 334
87.0% "terrific!"

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