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Michael Cisco's The Divinity Student and The Golem

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message 1: by Lane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Lane | 11 comments I just read The San Veneficio Canon after numerous recommendations and comparisons to Vandermeer, and I'm curious on what other people's thoughts might be. My feelings are pretty mixed, and I'm attempting to decide whether its because I had my expectations built up, whether I may have liked it more if I had read it with fewer distractions (I read it at work, often over women chatting about local gossip), or if I'm just somehow overlooking some unifying concept or idea that ties the story together better.

As it goes, I think there were a lot of great images and passages, but all the grotesqueries occurred with so little explanation that I never connected with the plot or characters.


message 2: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Michael | 6 comments It's sitting in my bedroom, waiting. I'll chime in later.


message 3: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Michael | 6 comments I think that distractions may have been the issue. Cisco writes in a vivid and stimulating style but the style makes it difficult sometimes to know precisely what's going on in the story - I had to reread several passages at times.

This is one of those books (books depending on which edition you read) where the plot and characters are secondary to the imagery.


message 4: by Lane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Lane | 11 comments Yeah, I think that's my problem. I love imagery like Cisco's, just not at the expense of plot and character. It wasn't so much that I couldn't understand what was going on once I digested the prose, so much as why it was going on. From what I've heard about his other works, maybe I'll like them better, since the plots and characters seem more comprehensible. Not that I need everything spelled out, but just a tad bit more connection with why the heck anything was happening and I think The San Veneficio Canon would have been one of my favorite reads in a while.


message 5: by Lane (new)

Lane | 11 comments Well, I've finally read more Cisco, and I liked The Tyrant a lot more than The San Veneficio Canon. Predominantly, I think it was because, as I hoped, I had more of a sense of why the heck anything was happening. I wouldn't say the imagery was more logical by any means, still plenty of surreal and grotesque touches, but the dreamlike qualities didn't seem at the expense of plot and character, which is all I wanted from San Veneficio.

Of course, I still may be reacting unfairly, since looking back, I'm beginning to think maybe I just disliked The Golem enough to cloud my judgment of The Divinity Student. Maybe I'll decide I like the first half of The San Veneficio Canon if I re-read it, but even then I'm sure I'll prefer The Tyrant.


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