Lettie Prell's Reviews > The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
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's review
Dec 04, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from November 13 to December 04, 2011

When I started to read this book, I was disappointed that the windup girl didn't appear right away. I was made to wait for her to be revealed, and while I waited I was treated to an intriguing vision of a future Thailand that rings just enough true to be convincing and satisfyingly exotic. Then the windup appears in tantalizing glimpses and all the while complications within the larger culture develop and hold interest. Multiple characters, all believable, become entangled and at last the windup girl takes center stage in all her breath-taking otherness.

I first became acquainted with Paolo Bacigalupi's work reading his short story, "The People of Sand and Slag" in Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. I was reminded of this story when I reached page 243 of The Windup Girl and came upon a brief and eloquent statement of the theme of the novel, a challenge to us to dare to adapt to a dramatically changing world, rather than struggle futilely to maintain said world in such a way as to support the current version of the human species. It's a theme well-played before in works like The Canticle for Leibowitz, but I'm grateful that Paolo Bacigalupi wrote his own unique variation on theme, for it soars like his windup after her tethers have been loosed.
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