I am usually a very forgiving reviewer, always trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt when I have some problems with the book. This one, however, strained my ability to review it in a positive way.
I can tell that I'm not enjoying a book when I keep inventing excuses not to read it. Believe me, I tried my best, getting through about 1/3 of the book before I finally gave up on it. To me it made no sense whatsoever, and the writing was a bit too arch for my taste. I like a book that has some kind of plot, but this one escaped me. There are a bunch of seemingly unconnected scenarios, and some extremely strange people. That's about it, in my estimation.
Perhaps at some further time in the book all of the nonsense comes together and makes sense. Unfortunately, after reading the book doggedly I just gave up. My interest, what there was of it, just flagged and I couldn't convince myself to keep turning the pages. Apologies to those readers and reviewers who liked the book. I didn't, but I respect your opinions.
Here's the thing. I very rarely give a book five stars. As a Mainer, I was brought up to practice moderation. To say I liked a book is fine, but to say I LOVED it is a display of flamboyant emotion my fellow Mainers would look at askance. But there's no help for it; I did love this book. Now the hard part. What's it about? Well, it's an old-fashioned tale of British Empire swashbuckling adventure (think The Man Who Would Be King, or King Solomon's Mines), … more
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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“Endlessly inventive. . . . Inspired by the New Wave science fiction of Michael Moorcock, the London crime novels of Jake Arnott, and the spy fiction of John le Carré (the author’s father), the novel ends up being its own absurdist sendup of pulp story tropes and end-of-the-world scenarios. . . . Harkaway makes his novel great fun on every page.” —Publishers Weekly(starred review)
“A puzzle box of a novel as fascinating as the clockwork bees it contains, filled with intrigue, espionage and creative use of trains. As if that were not enough to win my literary affection, Harkaway went and gave me a raging crush on a fictional lawyer.” —Erin Morgenstern, author ofThe Night Circus
“You are in for a treat, sort of like Dickens meets Mervyn Peake in a modern Mother London. The very best sort of odd.” —William Gibson, author ofZero History
“Nick Harkaway's novel is like a fractal: when examined at any scale, it reveals itself to be complex, fine-structured and ornately beautiful. And just like a fractal, all of this complexity and beauty derives from a powerful and elegant underlying idea.” —Charles Yu, author ofHow to Live Safely in a Science Fictional ...