(but maybe, we should worry more about how the ocean would try to talk to us)
It's a very disturbing read from the start, and you can feel the disquiet grip you into the pages immediately, but it's pretty dense and it can get dry.
Know what this reminded me off a lot? "Moby Dick". It's those essays, and the way everyone keeps approaching that ocean from a description of the components because the whole is unfathomable. Also quite a bit of "Arrival", and the inherent difficulties of communications.
Around the middle, I found that I started to like Snaut because he was saying everything that Kalving wouldn't even admit in his own internal narrative. Snaut was a ruthless bastard that angered Kalvin, but there was this sense that the reason Kalvin got angry all the time was because he was voicing what he did not want to see.
I did not expect it to end where it did, though that is likely the fault of my vague memories of the last movie made. There is so much that it leaves you speculating on, the concepts of a god that evolves and a god cradle in that final conversation specially, with Snaut wishing to stay, and that we never see anyone else's visitor but Kalvin's (oh, and the fact that Kalvin is the only one that does not obsessively hide his, the things that says).
There a lot more odds and ends that keep running around my mind for such a short novel, so I'll likely be chewing on my book hangover for a while.
That was such a cute comforting read.
At first, I was a bit "meh", but it grew on me as I read. There is nothing groundbreaking or uniquely though provoking here, but more of a hodgepodge-crew-as-family gone on a long job, told in chapters of a more or less episodic nature. It's a bit like watching a half-season series in book form.
I liked that it was kinda corny, that there were a lot of different types of relationships and love forms, and that on the whole, it was positive and hopeful. A bit naive, a bit anvilicious, but exactly the cheery soup that you need sometimes.
I loved the concept, I found the way we never read the protagonist's thoughts or words, yet we can perfectly infer them, very interesting, but most of all I loved how the full journey includes coming back to free the rest. That's putting the example he's been shown into it's final implementation, and it tied a knot into my throat. Beautiful.
It might just be that I have my bar for Le Guin right up there.
It was vivid in it's descriptions, and a lot happens and it's explored inside these few pages, but I felt like things spin and spin and spin once they reach the city, and then the resolution comes abruptly, as if the author had just tired of exploring this set up and just blew the way to the fastest exit.
Also, the women were done dirty, specially the way Parth was just forgotten. Which was a nasty surprise because I always expect better from Le Guin.
I don't really know what to say about this book, literature-wise. What I know is that it touched me. I left a comment over halfway through, about crying to the beat of the lifting bits, and negative spaces, and I don't know if I'm capable of doing it more justice.
There was a lot that kept crashing over and over, in the echoes of lines and themes through the ages, and stays with me: Freedom as owning yourself. Freedom being necessary to be able to love. What can't be borne, what breaks you, the sequels, the need sometimes to leave the past buried. This idea:
“You your best thing, Sethe. You are.”
And this idea:
For years Paul D believed schoolteacher broke into children what Garner had raised into men. And it was that that made them run off. Now, plagued by the contents of his tobacco tin, he wondered how much difference there really was between before schoolteacher and after. Garner called and announced them men—but only on Sweet Home, and by his leave. Was he naming what he saw or creating what he did not? That was the wonder of Sixo, and even Halle; it was always clear to Paul D that those two were men whether Garner said so or not.
But over all, this:
“Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. And all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver—love it, love it, and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.”
It's making me cry at the oddests things.
Like, there is the brutality (mostly inferred, none explicit so far), and the tragedy, and the whole landscape itself. And, OK, I'm not unmoved, but mostly wincing in horror more that tearing up.
And then there is that "mass" at the clearing, and a page about being able to love, and suddenly I'm sobbing like mad because...
Well, maybe it's not so odd. Because this book is functioning by negative space. What's there shows you what's absent very powerfully. And what's absent is a void that sucks attention to itself, and demands to be acknowledged, and holy molly, this is turning into me writing the review...
This came to my attention from some feed or other, recced as an entertaining romance, and it hit right the spot. Since I'm a picky bitch when it comes to my romantic reads, to say this was a nice and serviceable way to kill a reading slump, and a fairly enjoyable one at that, is no small praise. I might not be claiming it as perfect or touting it's brilliance to all and sunder (because I'm a bitch), but I will certainly read more of the author.
Took some pages for the book to grab me. If I'm honest, I'm pretty sure it was the chat with his war-buddy's wife, and as it happens, it is something of a key for the whole book. There was a promise there
If I ever do finish it, though, I give you my word of honor: there won’t be a part for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne.
“I tell you what,” I said, “I’ll call it ‘The Children’s Crusade.’”
It was kept, in sub-title and spirit.
There is nothing that could ever come close to glorifying war inside these pages. The theme is how absurd a beast it is, the little and big tragedies, how far in time the damages travel (and who was that said that wars die only with the last soldier that fought in it dies?). Hell, the whole way it's constructed is thoroughly trafalmadorian, which we would call hell of a PTSD outside any sci-fi bent mind.
It's also so bittersweet and human. There was also this other bit near the beginning that caught me
And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.
Because... well, I guess because it kind of encapsulates the thing, and how it feels. It's horrible, and terrible, and pretty disgusting, and so are almost every character in one aspect or another, but you are compelled to look. The dead demand to be witnessed and acknowledged and war sucks.
For all that three years passed, 21 years old Catalina feels so much younger than Nevada at 23 did on that first volume. Mostly because she got so derailed by Sagredo.
And I know; hormones mess with you, and so does passion, and 21 is very young and perfect time to be stupid about those things (and really, crushes and love makes idiots out of everyone at any age). But: Sagredo.
I have ZERO likes for those dangerous, maybe-bad, likely-bad-for-you, Cassanova-wanna-bes with tortured backgrounds that enjoy teasing and baiting, then hide under all the angst to not commit, and leave the damsel paying while telling themselves they are being all selfless for not dragging her all the way in. That's... so much disrespect for the girl, her feelings, and her capabilities.
I did like most of the periphery though: the one-scene-wonder Venenata coming back (though her brother could get stuffed... and I just realized almost every male made me rage at some point, and the exceptions would be Heart and Sgt Teddy, like, wow); the family interactions; what happened in the interim with the fallout of previous volumes; that chat and decision with Victoria (terrible, stupid, and still very interesting) and... that's it.
Yeah, doing a recap, I realize that although it was a fast fun ride, it was not awesome like I'd expected.