*Scratches head* Alright...
I'm reading this one in Spanish for two reasons:
- It's closer to the original Italian. Logic says translation should work better (I'm crossing my fingers).
- It is a book infamous for being a difficult read. I read about 1 in 20 books in my mother tongue now, usually those originally published as such, or copies I own jointly with mom, but early grasp of a language is never to be discounted as an advantage in understanding.
I'm one page in and I already fired a notes-file to untangle that first paragraph. And my understanding of Latin only extends to what I can elucidate from modern similar words.
This will be a challenge
The carnival comes to town, and it's a strange one. Not just because it's late in the year, or sets up at nigh. Like all carnivals, it promises magic, and magic there is. The kind that grants that most typical wish. Like most things one could want, one should beware of getting it.
In a fit of magical coincidence, this one could very well be the spiritual successor of Summer Wine: Greenville, autumn, and after the immortality of childhood, and the awakening self-awareness of twelve, the rush and hunger to grow of early adolescence.
A highly atmospheric, imaginative, spooky tale of friendship, coming of age, connecting, and loving the time you have now. At times it got too long-winded for my taste, it detracted from the action parts with detours, or confused me with metaphors, but for the most part I loved it, the emotions it pulled, the characters (the boys as much as the villains).
When ruling is based, and made stringent, on fear of an outside opponent, and someone has the brilliant idea of escalating yet to marking a personal opponent as an outsider, and it catches.
Might be easier to stomach going in without knowing how the episode goes and likely part of the reason that one was picked: no way really. Because no sucker-punch surprise horror can surpass the terror of inevitability, of seeing the evil the pettiness, the hysterical fanaticism and envy wreaths, knowing all the while the devastation it lead to.
I'm a bit discomfited by the part women play on this, saints or demons with little true humanity, but as a whole, a masterful depiction that ages all too well for my ease of mind.
Giles Corey, the contentious, canny old man, takes the badass-crown with his memetic "More weight". He knew what it was all about, and everyone could keep their saintliness debate to themselves. With Proctor the sinner and Hale the naive believer, they make a nice triad.
I did not want this to end. I feel a bit bereft, and very emotional, and somewhat fragile (even if Rokkanon's World had prepared me for the possibility). And in awe. Dazzled in awe of how Le Guin can weave this beautiful settings to address concepts, limitations, canons of society, give them new perspectives and lead into discussions well before their time.
She did warn in a way, in that introduction. Because, it might be that I had late access to the Internet, and so was somewhat cut out from the world-dialogue, but it looks to me that talk of gradients and varieties of sex and sexuality (beyond the ever polemical homosexual, bisexual or trans-gender, and those as isolated phenomenons at that), is pretty recent. Yet here it is, served as a "fait acompli" in the form of a world where gender has always been a fluid thing, when it's even a thing, and the protagonist just has to deal, get over and past it, once and for all. Let me tell you, I had some fun mocking the MC over his inability to accept, because at some point, it annoyed me. Which is exactly the point of the book, I think.
Tied to that, all the issues of friendship, love, miss/understanding, acceptance, and what have you, in an epic sprinkled with back-ground myths and wrapped up in a sci-fi package. And by all the literary muses, I loved it.