Danielle's Reviews > Foreigner

Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
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's review
Oct 09, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: scifi-fantasy, successfully-transportive
Recommended to Danielle by: Joci
Read in October, 2008

I started this series because I was given to understand that it is an insightful, interesting study of language and how it both feeds and reflects a culture or people's values. I have been interested in this subject since I left the Religious Right and started to study feminism - two cultures within America with great emphasis on language and the control thereof. If it's so important to exercise control over it, it's because it's powerful.

I found in reading the first book that it seems more of a study in how deceptive language can be when one makes assumptions of the other's point of view. The danger in the assumptions themselves. When we communicate with each other, what assumptions of the other are we basing judgements on - what motivates us to use one line of reason or argument over another?

A lot of our communication is based on a simple assumption of a gut reaction or emotional response to certain concepts, statements or expressions (see "Republican Politicians"). What if you were always wrong in those assumptions, and what would that affect - in you, your relationship with that individual and so on? Like the main character, I constantly started to get comfortable with a line of thought or empathize with an action or reaction I was reading, only to be jerked out of my comfort and into the vertigo-inducing realization that our comfort zone, as humans, could be so misunderstood that war was a constant threat. What would be the affect of constant emotional dissonance, self-analysis /double-guessing and being the only person experiencing those particular reactions and emotional responses for long periods of time?

I enjoyed it; interesting stream of consciousness narrative style. You could really empathize with the main character's loneliness for a bit of 'dependable' human emotion (even negative) among a crowd of atevi, who can hardly be blamed for being hard-wired to have different experiences and expressions of life.

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