Mariel's Reviews > Girl in Landscape

Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem
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's review
Oct 16, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended to Mariel by: wind in the wires
Recommended for: this year's girl
Read in October, 2008

If every book were like Jonathan Lethem's Girl in Landscape I'd probably never talk to anyone ever again. That'd not be such a bad thing, really (I mean for everybody else. I can be a right pain in the ass). I could move to a new frontier and read all day. (Start my own planet!) Everything would be the great read that makes me feel fullfilled. Longing sigh.
'Landscape' I read in one sitting on a ass numbingly long flight. That I didn't notice anything else around me was amazing. That's what I want the most out of my reading, to be able to forget myself completely (more forgetting me than everybody else). Even my inner reading voice didn't sound like me. (I loved the episode of Seinfeld when George couldn't stand to read 'cause he hated his own inner voice. Then he got an audio book that had his same voice. Loved it.)
It's not the reaction I should have to reading a book like this one. It's really about going to the unknown and not turning your face away from its sun. How we can enslave ourselves by pretending all the time. I guess I just don't feel like I'm discovering anything unless it's a great book to take me there. Real life and real people can be so lonely. I don't really want to be just me. I don't doubt that people feel like the people in this book, only it's not like I get to know about it, you know? There's no cutting through the bullshit. I wanted to keep on reading about Pella not doing the stifling drugs and getting out of her body to be able to look into the secrets of others. It was my chance not to be shut out. Books are the best.

This is another book that is called a "coming of age" story a lot. I think anyone who doesn't swim like a shark without ever stopping shouldn't have any trouble relating to Pella, thirteen year old girl or no.
P.s. 'Landscape' also has my favorite bestiality love story.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by JSou (new)

JSou Beastiality love story?? Okay, this is going on the to-read list. Great review!

Also, I don't really have an 'inner reading voice'. That I've noticed at least. Is this a bad thing? Does everyone else have one??

Mariel Yes and it is with aliens.

I hear my own voice in my head and characters will sound like me. A friend of mine once told me that everyone she talks to online looks exactly like her in her mind. That would scare me. I see myself as my twin when I look in the mirror though, so I'd probably think everyone looked like her and not me, at least.

message 3: by Emilie (new)

Emilie ooh, a rubber-ring and wishitlastedforever. i love this review.

message 4: by Sue (new)

Sue Loved the book and loved this review. I read it many years ago but it stays with me (like Lethem's _Fortress of Solitude_). It's true, you don't have to be a thirteen year old girl to relate to or appreciate Pella. I'm not a big science fiction reader, only because one can only read so much in a lifetime - but I especially enjoy sf like this where the alien world is basically just a new country, a new setting for stories about beings who feel and love and hurt and share the same familiar human dilemmas, but with a newness in the challenges of an imagined world with often very unfamiliar conditions and features. I found the "landscape" in this novel very intriguing. Stark and strange and scary, but not cold, because Pella is there giving it warmth, and less frightening as she tames it with her bravery. Lethem has a way of letting you into an intimate world of a few people and getting you to feel as if it's a place and time you yourself inhabit; and at least in these two novels, by limiting 'landscape' to a few places the reader becomes extremely familiar with and attached to them. When the story is over, it's like the memory of a magical time and place in your own past that you look back on and feel deeply wistful about - very close to the feeling expressed in the Portuguese term "saudade."

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