Didn't read it for maybe more than twenty years and want to re-read. The thing was more I'd read it more satirical it had appeared. I wouldn't be surpDidn't read it for maybe more than twenty years and want to re-read. The thing was more I'd read it more satirical it had appeared. I wouldn't be surprised if now the book would seem downright sad.
Those days, mid-20's - beginning of 30's of the last century, were unique in the literary conscience of Russia. That was a result of an almost impossible combination of classical education with complete remodeling of worldview supported by unique for Russian in XX century freedom of expression (soon those days would be brought to the end quite abruptly)....more
Yet another specimen of plot based literature, books for which usage of spoilers is absolutely required. The body of a book is a wrapper for a gem ofYet another specimen of plot based literature, books for which usage of spoilers is absolutely required. The body of a book is a wrapper for a gem of author's imagination. There is nothing wrong with this philosophy per se, it goes well back in time and already Aristotle laid out the whole deal. The problem is when the gem (plot) is unremarkable and the wrapper is so-so. This is where "Skinny dip" goes. Except first few pages and scattered passages here and there nothing catches the eye. Pretty quickly the plot becomes clear and it becomes pretty difficult to justify unfolding quite voluminous wrapper: I've tried really-really hard to finish the book and finally gave up.
The book is written within the traditions of socialist realism: bad characters (usually politicians and businessmen) are hands down bad, greedy and stupid, and do their bad stuff mostly just for the sake of their inner badness; good characters ("working class") are absolutely good, few character develop conscience and drift from the bad camp to the good one. As a result, personages are boringly predictable and, I risk to add, look very stupid. I did have a bit of compassion built-up by the first chapter but it quickly disappeared. And don't get me started on how women are portrayed.
At this point someone usually jumps forward with the concrete argument "this is pulp fiction, you know, if you want characters go read James Joyce". It doesn't seem persuasive but, okay, let's look into the plot. The whole story is a compilation of well used motives: Monte Cristo syndrome, environmentalism, greedy bourgeois, dirty politicians and such. Don't think there is even a single twist in the book, which is not a cliche. Again, there is nothing wrong with this since there are only as many stories. When they are thrown into the batch carelessly, however, nothing good comes out of the oven. For example, Joey doesn't want to go to the police after she's rescued because she's afraid to loose in court. Indeed, with mere 13 million dollars in her pocket how's that possible to debunk the incriminating effect of the single case of DUI in her record. It's much better idea to make a former cop to become a criminal (blackmail, obstruction of justice, forgery, battery). Yeah, right. That poor hair stylist girl gets a bullet in her leg because of this decision (thanks to the author she didn't get killed while being shot from some thirty feet and then get rescued by a kind lunatic, what a luck!) but she probably deserved it and a bullet in the leg, pfff, is not a big deal anyway.
There is some entertainment in how one kind of crime produced by fear (of exposure) is considered gruesome while another kind of crime also due to fear (of loosing a court battle) is posed as a good thing because it seems justified. Not much entertainment, though, to make me revisit other books of the same author and that is why I'm writing this....more
The beginning was promising. Characters unfolded into the story as humans perceiving the world, justifying themselves, rather than dumb mechanisms exeThe beginning was promising. Characters unfolded into the story as humans perceiving the world, justifying themselves, rather than dumb mechanisms executing commands sent by the author. That kept me reading and neglecting small hiccups here and there and bloated text. As a side note, the book would greatly benefit if it were, say, 25-30 percents shorter. The excessive details and repetitions (I liked "From the big green machine to this") were absolutely appropriate but some passages and even whole scenes (for instance, the fight in the tarot reader's place and unsuccessful robbery in the pawn shop) could be removed for good. I still took it as an excusable nuisance.
Then, around the time when O'Donnell and Dixon joined Reacher and Neagley, it went steeply downhill. By the last quarter nothing made sense. The author could as well make all bad guys commit massive suicide due to sudden rash of remorse. Or excruciating boredom. Or just for the heck of it. What started as a solid plot turned into a complete garbage (that's the twist alright). Let me see if I get this straight. The villains removed the obstacle in the form of four agents, waited for two weeks and just as the deal was about to get round they went hormonal and invited four more. Yeah, seems like absolutely logical thing to do. Moreover, one of the main villains himself delivered important keys to the re-established investigators (e.g., list of aliases and the scribble on the napkin) while he had no obligations whatsoever to do this, not even to support his "cover". If that wasn't enough another leader of bad guys gives an order to a subordinate not to wait for reinforcement and to take all the group by himself (right, screw "ballistics"!). I was even surprised that "I need them alive to perform the ritual jettison" was not added.
So, by the end the book becomes excessively worded disappointment. Oh, well, yet another author I won't read again....more
The only curious feature of this book is that it illustrates one of Kant's ideas the author failed to explain in the text. The book is based on silentThe only curious feature of this book is that it illustrates one of Kant's ideas the author failed to explain in the text. The book is based on silent supposition that you can get something by simple observing how it interacts with our senses. Applying to Kant himself (a hint for "thing in itself" is intended) this means that the book apparently assumes that one can understand the ideas, Kant spent a big chunk of his life thinking about, through observations of notably uneventful Kant's life. That might be true, I don't know for sure but have my doubts.
A synopsis of the book may look like this. There was this fellow, Kant. He lived deadly boring life and wrote unintelligible texts you won't ever understand. And he missed his mommy.
I don't know whether the author understands Kant but using the same tools, with which he approaches Kant, I say he doesn't....more
Two things made me drop one star. First, constant references for (obvious) military applications. I understand that they are predetermined by the sub-Two things made me drop one star. First, constant references for (obvious) military applications. I understand that they are predetermined by the sub-cultural motive - military science fiction - but this is really sad to see that all this talk about different impossibilities, all this beautiful science (of which only a hint could be presented in a popular book) and just for more efficient and entertaining killing. Second, neglect of the problem of time scales, similar to that appearing in statistical physics. For example, the consequence of existence of NP problems is that even dramatic revolutionary advances in calculation technologies would result in only slight improvements in solutions of such problems. This leads to unexpected turns of technological evolution: even if something is proved to be contrary to previous beliefs possible, no-one cares about this because of completely different solutions. For example, for a while there was a general consensus that humans cannot fly by means of their muscles. It was disproved some thirty years ago but no technological implementations have grown out of that.