A woefully unprepared group of humans starts a colony on an alien planet. Stuff goes wrong right from the beginning and it just seems like a matter of time before they die out. The cool thing is that they befriend an intelligent plant, and it negotiates with other plants on their behalf. Oh, and they move into a city left behind by other aliens who apparently also tried to colonize the planet.
So despite the apparently ill-fated nature of their colonization attempt, the book has some cool concepts. Unfortunately, I just didn't enjoy reading it all that much. It's divided into chapters in the life of the colony over the span of about a hundred years that are told from different viewpoints, so it feels more like a set of inter-related short stories than a coherent novel. Not exactly my cup of tea.
The dialogue felt really choppy in the earlier chapters, and since the main POV character was constantly changing, I had varying degrees of interest in the various chapters. Also, the book feels depressing because I feel that the colony is doomed to die out eventually.
The action takes place in the Louisiana delta region of the United States. Dave Robicheaux is still haunted by the death of his wife Molly in an automobile accident and has always suspected that JT Bartez was to blame. One morning he awakens up in a police station to be told that he is the chief suspect in the murder of Bartez and given that Robicheaus has marks and bruises on his hands can only lead to one conclusion....So as our knowledgeable detective sets out to reclaim his good name a serial killer with the gentle name of Smiley is at work in the delta region killing whose who deserve to have their life terminated.
James Lee Burke writes lyrically about a time and place he obviously knows very well. It is not so much the story that attracts me to his writing but his wonderful descriptions full of warmth and humour..."Those truths have less to do with the dead than the awareness that we are no different from them, that they are still with us and we are still with them, and there is no afterlife but only one life"......"I admired him and perhaps sometimes even envied his combination of composure and ardor, as well as his ability to float above the pettiness that characterizes the greater part of our lives"....."With each day that passed, I felt as though the world I had known was being airbrushed out of a painting"....."She was one of those women who seemed to choose solitude and plainness over beauty, and anger over happiness"...."people are what they do, not what they think, not what they say"....."He's one step away from the worm food and knows it"...."Louisiana is not a state; it's an outdoor mental asylum in which millions of people stay bombed most of their lives"...."Solitude and peace with oneself are probably the only preparation one has for death"....."If you have attended the dying, you know what their last moments are like. They anticipate the separation of themselves from the world of the living before you do, and they accept it with dignity and without complaint"...
("Read more" stays on booklikes, I just didn't want a long post hijacking the dashboard for those of you who don't have settings set to initially view shorten posts)
In no order whatsoever (except "as I thought about it"):
Nonfiction Science Bookclub on booklikes is at http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/90/buddy-read-for-the-invention-of-nature