Oh man, Science Fiction from the 60's... So. Much. Sexism.
I am having a lot of Logan's Run flashbacks.
“Dr. Jubal Harshaw, professional clown, amateur subversive, and parasite by choice, had long attempted to eliminate 'hurry' and all related emotions from his pattern. Being aware that he had but a short time left to live and having neither Martian nor Kansan faith in his own immortality, it was his purpose to live each golden moment as if it were eternity—without fear, without hope, but with sybaritic gusto.”
In "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert A. Heinlein
I believe it was Spider Robinson who once wrote "There's a special word that authors use to describe someone who thinks that every character is speaking for the author himself. That word is 'idiot'. " An actor isn't the role he plays. Most people understand that. Why do they assume an author necessarily agrees with everything his characters say in his books? The trouble with trying to nail down the politics of a prolific writer of fiction is the tendency to forget that writers of fiction explore themes, not necessarily manifestos. What Heinlein set forth in any one book would have been an exploration of one of a variety of ideas that would have informed his entire philosophy.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
Not really sure where to begin with my review for Unholy Land, which I picked up as an uncorrected proof on Netgalley - as a result, knowing little about the book and also missing the fact it was labelled as 'literary fiction' (a category which really does very little for me), I wondered if the things that didn't quite mesh together right at the beginning were just errors on the part of the author, only to discover later they were probably stylistic choices.
Anyway, on to the plot. Initially, Unholy Land is alternate history - in this case, a history where instead of settling in Israel, Jews fleeing from Europe settled an area of central Africa and made for themselves a land called Palestina. For anyone who knows something of the current situation in the Middle East, there's something a little ironic about the fact that, as a result, the Jewish community in this scenario call themselves Palestinians. Anyway, our main character is a writer of pulp detective stories called Lior who is returning to Palestina after living in Germany, having recently suffered a terrible loss.
However, as we discover throughout the book, there is more going on here than initially meets the eye and Lior himself begins to have trouble sorting out his own memories from what everyone else seems to think has happened. Landing in Palestina, where the inhabitants are busy building a massive wall to secure their ownership of the land, Lior finds himself involved in the murder of an old friend and that's just the beginning of the difficulties he faces.The spaces between the different realities are wearing thin.
This isn't the easiest novel to read and half the time I'm pretty sure I had little idea exactly what was going on, not helped by the number of points of view that get used along the way. I was also a little thrown by how autobiographical it is - having read some of the author's comments before the story itself, I could see where his experience was cropping up as Lior's, though it's quite possible given the nature of the story that this was again a deliberate choice. It's just a little too much work to keep track of what's going on and I'm left feeling glad that I picked this up where and how I did, as it's not something I'll want to read again.
I received this book as an uncorrected proof from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
A Land More Kind Than Home is wonderful storytelling, dark and tragic, with delicious atmosphere. Much of the mystery derives from the non-linear structure and the reveal coming in slow dribs and drabs from the point of view of three different characters of varying ages and levels of involvement. This adds to the tension and the fun, but ultimately was a little unsatisfying as I didn’t feel fully connected to any of them, although there were moments that were deeply touching.
This is the second book I’ve read by Wiley Cash, and I’ve enjoyed both. I’ll keep looking for books from this author.
Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. The audio used three different performers to represent each main character and all were terrific, especially the voice for the sheriff and the old woman.
6/24/18 – 25%