Jennifer's Reviews > Cryptonomicon

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Oct 08, 2007

liked it
Recommended for: Patient people who like history
Read in October, 2007

If Neal Stephenson hired an editor for this book, it would have been more popular than Da Vinci Code. The plot is very interesting. It is a parallel narrative that oscillates between the stories of several men participating on all sides of World War II and the stories of their descendants who are in the midst of a technology boom and are exploring the new world of online banking and a completely electronic currency. The book was written in 1999, so it lacks the typical inclination of new internationally-focused books to dissect the implications of September 11th, which is nice. The not-so-nice thing about this book is the fact that it is a 900-page novel that could easily be pared down to 500 pages and be twice as interesting. Stephenson takes side-trips to tell you about some mathematical representation of spokes on a bicycle wheel or about one character's need to pour his cereal in the perfect proportions. These bits - while they would be interesting as short stories - are not essential to the book and end up bogging down the reader in a lot of exposition that, in the end, matters very little to the plot points. I would love to edit this book into something more readable for the normal book-lover, but it's obvious that Stephenson uses his writing as an ego-trip and not so much to satisfy his audience. This is a good book to read while you have some other things available, because I found myself throwing it down several times and yelling out loud, "Why the HELL does he feel it necessary to explain the entirety of Greek Mythology in the last 100 pages o the book?!"
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