Oriana's Reviews > The Society of Others

The Society of Others by William Nicholson
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Dec 31, 07

bookshelves: read-2007, book-i-hate-you
Read in December, 2007

my sister, who never reads, is reading this book on her travels in South America. I am flabbergasted and ecstatic that she's taking the time to read at all, and I must have this book finished by the time she gets back.


update: Welp, I'm really sad to have to take a break from Against the Day, but it must be done. This book looks like a quick read, tho, so hopefully I won't forget too much of Pynchon while I'm sidetracked.


update the second Ok, so I admit that I wasn't exactly expecting to love this book. Sis aside, I am generally an unapologetic book snob, and my interests were not piqued by this one. And I wasn't wrong, really, Society of Others definitely wasn't that good. See, I mean, it starts real shitty, with this very overdone illustration of a totally disaffected, misanthropic, angry twenty-something guy. A lot of 'My parents want me to be happy, but isn't that a lot to ask? I mean, they don't actually want me to be happy, they want my happiness to make them feel like they're validated in how they raised me...' That sort of thing. Dude just hanging out alone in his bedroom, being pissed off that his dad gave him a bunch of money to go on a post-college vacation. Oh poor baby.

So that's the beginning. Then the middle actually picked up and was rather good. Dude begrudgingly goes on said vacation, but by hitchhiking, and not asking the trucker who picks him up where they're going. So then it switches to a different thing. After driving for days, they're about to cross a serious border, and the trucker asks dude to just hide an envelope in his pocket when they cross, and then of course they come to a roadblock manned by guys with guns, dude has to jump out of the car and run into the forest, while the baddies kill the trucker and set fire to his truck. So now dude is alone & scared in a foreign country, he doesn't know where he is & doesn't speak the language. It's a super-restrictive totalitarian society & everyone's scared & repressed, and he goes along, being picked up by various resistance organizations and the like. There's a lot of philosophy, a lot of nice scenes, good intrigue, great characters, and I actually thought I was going to wind up being pleasantly surprised by how good of a book it was.

But no.

Because that's the middle. The end, which you sense is approaching with some trepidation, that dread-in-the-stomach feeling that shit is going to be bad, was awful. Total, seriously disappointing cop-out. Suddenly this book, which has been about tangible, interesting things, becomes this dreadful metaphorical nonsense. Total 'twist' ending, but horribly unjustified. Leaving a real bad taste in your mouth. A real bad why-did-I-bother-with-this-crap taste.

Sheesh. Back to Pynchon I releivedly go.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Sonky (new)

Sonky Once again, Oriana, your writing. But also, your sensibilities. Thanks for the cogent warning.

I wonder what the ensuing sister duologue must be like.

message 2: by Oriana (last edited May 06, 2013 09:05PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oriana Aww, thanks! And, I'm happy to say, my sis was pissed off by the ending too. I was really worried that I was hating a book she had loved, but luckily we're in agreement.

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