Monthly Archives: July 2014

Book Interlude: Low Town – Daniel Polansky

I am not pleased with this book after about 50 pages and am going to return it. It feels awkward, jumbled, and it lacks cohesion for me. I didn’t feel any satisfaction or curiosity as I read the book.

But, the biggest thing that annoys me about it is that the main character talks about this set of peoples that live in a specific slum, immigrants from another country. They’re described as short, squat, swarthy, and heathens. Then the protagonist talks to one of these immigrants in their language. It’s broken, and the author romanizes the language with (translations) and the language is Chinese.

And with that, I am done. Just, done.

He could have used broken English to line out how the protagonist doesn’t know the language well, but he opted to use Chinese. If he used romanized Hindi, Arabic, or something else I wouldn’t recognize, this might not be a big deal to me. I realize this is two-faced. But I recognized it, and I’m annoyed. It’s not a fantasy book anymore and I am really angry.

Returning the book this weekend and using the money for another book I’m sure I will enjoy more.

The Girl With All the Gifts – MR Carey

I hate buying books in hardcover. The dust jackets are easy to tear or dent, they’re are too unwieldy to read with one hand while grasping a strap on the T, they can’t be placed in with paperbacks by author because it wrecks my nice even line of books. Oh, and they cost more. Drives me nuts, but I still purchase hardbacks when I am too excited to wait.

Our most recent visit to a bookstore had this book on display, and I had to get it because I was almost positive that MR Carey was Mike Carey, who wrote a lot of comics but most importantly to me, the “Lucifer” comic and the Felix Castor series. Turns out it was him.

“The Girl With All the Gifts” is a post-apocalyptic book whose reason for being post-apocalyptic is a spoiler. I don’t want to say too much because all the reveals are important. This means I can’t really talk about the book.

Let me just say that I felt compelled to finish reading the book. I don’t want to say “enjoyed” because there were a lot of things that made me uncomfortable, things that I acknowledge as being something governments/people might do. I had to see what the conclusion would be, and was satisfied. I accept that it’s a viable ending, but I didn’t love it. To love it would mean that I was happy at the end, and I was not happy.

I don’t know if I would recommend it to anyone I know, not because I think it’s bad, but because it’s very different from what my friends like to read. It’s a post-apocalyptic book about survivors fighting monstrous things, whether it’s themselves, their ideas, or the thing that made the world fall. There’s not a lot of hope and light in it.

Final thoughts: Would read and put on a shelf. Probably would not re-read, but definitely would not sell/donate it.