Inder's Reviews > Solaris

Solaris by Stanisław Lem
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's review
Jun 16, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books, science, read-2008, 20th-century, fiction
Recommended to Inder by: Mike (Krishna's)
Read in August, 2008

This was very, very interesting, at times quite profound, but a bit uneven overall.

The narrator's voice ranges between that of a cowboy or noir detective and a philosopher or theologian, and neither is quite convincing. The scientific descriptions of the intelligent ocean are long and skim-worthy. The characters are one-dimensional. It's carelessly sexist - Kelvin's wife has no personality beyond being submissive and suicidally depressed, and yet, with little explanation, he loves her? That sort of thing.

And yet, the idea - how would you react if your lost loved one returned to you, only to be lost again in almost the same fashion? - was perfectly executed. It would have been more touching had the characterization been better and the emotional range of the novel larger, but the poignancy was still there, at least in the abstract.

But this just goes to show - my usual reading is very character-driven, and this just is not. It's plot-driven, and idea-driven. Given this, you have to admit: the premise of the book is brillant. And it has moments of dark philosophical intelligence. Very thought provoking.

I'm glad I read it, although I don't feel it's a "must-read" by any stretch.

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