Of course in reality there is no city by the name Jethra, but there is a city by name of London, so the first perspective is definitely closer to reality.(less)
I genuinely can't decide if I liked this or not. I certainly enjoyed reading it, but doing so was somewhat like losing my mind. I also have a suspicion that Priest crafted the novel precisely to elicit this effect on the reader, which makes me respect him even more in an odd way. All in all, I'm very confused, but I still enjoyed it.
I have a theory that this book inspired Haruki Murakami to write Sputnik Sweetheart. There are just so many similarities in story, narrative, and th ...more
“There was a duplication of myself involved, perhaps even a triplication. There was I who was writing. There was I whom I could remember. And there was I of whom I wrote, the protagonist of the story.”
― Christopher Priest, The Affirmation
Among the most remarkable novels I’ve ever encountered. Here are the opening lines: “This much I know for sure: My name is Peter Sinclair. I am English and I am, or I was, twenty-nine years old. Already there is an uncertainty and my sureness recedes. Age is a v ...more
The blurb does NOT do it justice. Rather, try to follow me here, because this could get rather twisty, but what we've got is what seems to be a rather self-absorbed man trying to come to terms with personal tragedy, writing a manuscript that is all about learning who he is and getting over a girl, but it soon becomes an adventuresome trip through a bunch of very interesting islands, him having won the gift of immortality through a lottery ticket.
The world-building ...more
Rattling SF: “The Affirmation” by Christopher Priest
“Living is not an art, but to write of life is. Life is a series of accidents and anticlimaxes, misremembered and misunderstood, with lessons only dimly learned. Life is disorganized, lacks shape, lacks story.”
In “The Affirmation” by Christopher Priest
A Priest book isn't just a (SF) book. It is the distilled essence of a philosophy, a memoir; a piece of someone's soul. Losing the book ...more
Special Interests covered: mental illness, philosophy.
A plain description of the novel would make it sound like a firework display of postmodern literary exuberance; but in fact it is anything but. It's a surprisingly low-key work, in its prose (quite quotidian), pacing (very measured), and mood (ruminating). It d ...more
You should read it. Read all his things. CP is my hero.
(P.S., the blurb is terrible. I assure you, this is not a book about a sad writer boy whose girlfriend left him. Everyone here is better than that.)
29-year-old Peter Sinclair has recently been through great person ...more
The Affirmation starts out as a manic* exploration of the possible existence of truth in fiction and how the writing and rewriting of autobiography in increasingly veiled and distanced terms reaches a vanishing point where it suddenly becomes 'fiction' and all the attendant consequences therein: people, places, and events from 'reality' not merely transposed—but transformed—yet retaining the shimmer of familiarity. It explodes* from there into a mad* identity quest mapped out through a ragged ma ...more
I was captivated at first with some fairly mundane parallels to my life, an easy attraction to an everyday protagonist that just happens to share some of my mannerisms, feelings, thought processes.
Then around p ...more
The Affirmation by Christopher Priest is one of the greatest books I've ever read. I read this book a couple of days ago but hadn't been able to write a review because I was unable to think straight. This book has seriously messed with my mind.
I have never been a huge fan of simple and straightforward plots. Most of my favourite movies are filled with twisted, complicated plotlines and confusing narratives but it's a bit easier to create such effects on screen where you have a va...more
Not knowing anything about a story is actually one of my favorite things when I read, because I like not having any real expectations. The back of the book doesn't give a lot of information, though I found it appea ...more
This was the weirdest, most surreal reading experience I have ever had.
This novel was written just for me. I know it. Don't try to tell me otherwise.
And reading it, I felt I was reading myself and I had to get to the ending of the book to find out the ending of my own story, but at the same time I was so fearful, because do I really want to know the ending of my story? Will reading it change the middle of my story? or will it erase everything that came before so I can write the new ...more
Priest takes the notion of the unreliable narrator to new extremes, leaving one confused and a bit crazy as the protagonist's worlds bleed into each other, sometimes subtly, sometimes jarringly. He methodically tears apart and reconstructs the notion of memory as identity, i.e. "I am what I remember". I ...more
He attempts to define himself by writing down his past. But he is dissatisfied and rewrites it, each time becoming more abstract, more inventive until he constructs a fully imagined world but ...more
The Dream Archipelago, The Islanders and The Affirmation are together a masterpiece of literary fiction. I cannot imagine a reader who (regardless of what she/he normally reads) is not touched and whose life is not a little changed after the encounter with these wonderful writings.
Reading this book was mentally immersive. Several times, I found my limbs locked in position, the tip of my thumb lodged between my tee ...more
The Affirmation gets back to the personal stage and fo ...more
I had a chat with Chris Priest at Eastercon, and asked him which of his books I should read that I had not read - I am familiar with both his early and his most recent work, but less clear on the middle. Without hesitation, he said that The Affirmation, published in 1981, is the book that his earlier novels lead to and his later works reflect on. A kind spouse got it for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I devoured it this weekend in post-election ha ...more
“As long as I could remember myself, then I existed. When I woke up in the mornings the first thing I’d do is think back to what I’d done just before going to bed. If the continuity was still there, I still existed. And I think it works the other way … there’s a space ahead that I can anticipate. It’s like a balance. I discovered that memory was like a psychic force behind me, and therefore there must be a kind of life force spreading out in front. The human mind, consciousness, exists at the...more
He has published eleven novels, four short story collections and a number of other books, including critical works, biographies, novelizations and children’s non-fiction.
He has written drama for radio (BBC Radio 4) and television (Thames TV and HTV). In ...more