Helen's Reviews > A Man of Shadows

A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon
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really liked it
bookshelves: arc, crime, reviewed, sci-fi, fantasy

I read once that taking away watches and clocks from people and not allowing them to know the time will slowly drive them mad. After reading this book I can believe it.

It starts out as a hard-boiled detective story set in a world that feels like a futuristic version of the 1950's. The city is split into three different zones, Nocturna that is eternal night, Dusk, a place of fog and monsters where it is always twilight and no-one dare go, and Dayzone, a world of bright neon lights where it never goes dark and the citizens are constantly switching between the hundreds of different timelines.

John Nyquist is hired to find the teenage daughter of one of the richest men in the city. But like any good detective story, nothing is what it seems.

I loved the first half, the atmosphere created and the characters and the sense of place are almost perfectly done. Towards the middle it starts to feel surreal, it's like a bad dream where Nyquist is losing his sense of time and reality. I struggled with reading this, I've never enjoyed dream sequences and this was more confusing than most. It messed with my mind, and it made me feel a bit ill reading it!

It settles down towards the end though and it got a bit easier on my brain.

The writing is brilliant, and it's full of plot twists that I didn't predict. The atmosphere and the world building is just right, I could see Dayzone in my mind, and I loved the contrast between the frantic pace of life there and the calm and quiet in Nocturna.

I do struggle sometimes with books that leave you to decide what's real and what's not, but if you don't mind that then I highly recommend this book as it's very well done, with an interesting story, good characters, and original ideas.

I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

July 19, 2017 – Shelved
July 19, 2017 – Shelved as: own-and-need-to-read
July 19, 2017 – Shelved as: arc
July 26, 2017 – Started Reading
July 26, 2017 –
July 26, 2017 –
July 27, 2017 –
July 28, 2017 –
August 1, 2017 –
August 2, 2017 –
August 7, 2017 – Shelved as: crime
August 7, 2017 – Shelved as: reviewed
August 7, 2017 – Shelved as: sci-fi
August 7, 2017 – Finished Reading
August 9, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Peter (new) - added it

Peter Haynes Do you happen to recall where you read that thing about madness stemming from having no knowledge of the time? Thanks.

Helen Peter wrote: "Do you happen to recall where you read that thing about madness stemming from having no knowledge of the time? Thanks."
I don't - it's something I read years ago and it just stuck in my head.

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