Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Thursday, 11 September 2014
This Great-with-a-Capital-G dystopian satire was published in 1971 but could've been written last week. It's not what I was expecting from the author of Solaris - clearly Lem wasn't the kind of writer to knock out the same book twice.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Reading Emma Donoghue's Room is a genuinely unsettling and compelling experience. If you've never heard of it, I'd advise you not to find out anything about the book in advance - it will only put you off. Just read it. End of review.
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
There's a devastating moment at the midway point of Jose Saramago's Blindness which would've served as the perfect ending to the novel - an unhappy ending for sure, but only to be expected in this type of fiction.
Up until the halfway point, Blindness is a haunting dystopian classic. The second half seems fairly pointless. It's grim for the sake of being grim, with an disappointing conclusion.
As in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Saramago's characters are deliberately one-dimensional, which works incredibly well. The need for distinct characteristics (or even names) isn't the point. It's a story about human beings attempting to survive in an oppressive environment.
I don't usually make a habit of offering writing tips to sadly-departed Nobel Prize winners, but if I was editing this book I'd have made it 50% shorter.
By the way, don't read this book if you're looking for an accurate and sensitive portrayal of blindness as a disability. To say the least, Saramago was pretty far off the mark.
Casting this shortcoming aside, the first half of this novel is well worth reading.