Neal Stephenson’s Reamde manages the trick of amalgamating a series of wildly diverse concepts into a narrative which is not simply coherent but genuinely compelling. The novel follows a chain of events sparked by a USB drive infected with the eponymous Reamde virus; the consequences of which slingshot a collection of convincing and often surprising characters through a number of locations, from the American Northwest to China, all realised in vivid detail. It is the characters that will linger when Reamde is done; they will feel like old friends, faces you’ve seen on the news, contacts in your phone. People you knew. At least, that’s how it is for me.
Reamde looks a huge slab of a book and intimidating. It starts slow, contemplative, but is soon cracking along and juggling subplots here and there like it’s nothing. This conglomeration of ideas, action, artistic rivalries, international plots, and digital worlds is absolutely worth the effort.
A Forest of Pages is where I ramble a bit about books I’ve read recently. Got a backlog of posts to write to get it up to scratch - they’re on the way. Do consider giving it a follow if you’re a book person.
The Gardener From Ochakov - Andrey Kurkov (Fiction)
The Gardener From Ochakov is an ambling journey which juxtaposes modern and Soviet Ukraine in a charming and eccentric manner.
Igor, a trust-fund layabout, strikes the reader as a listless and naive protagonist who does not so much set out on adventures as get towed along by them. Yet there is an endearing quality which begins in his acceptance of his circumstances and grows with the sharing of his perambulations, spacial and temporal alike.
Ochakov makes for a pleasant rainy-day read, and is certainly an inspiration to pick up more of Kurkov’s work. I am quite looking forward to starting on Death and the Penguin.
I’m starting something of a book-thoughts secondary blog.
Bear with me while I get the backlog written up, but follow if you’d like the occasional glimpse into my readings, maybe?
And if you’d like to contribute, feel free to get in touch…