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Showing posts from February, 2014

Books of Note

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Not surprisingly, like a lot of John Darnielle’s music, particularly those songs on the album The Sunset Tree (Pale Green Things springs to mind and is very much worth listening to), his writing only slowly reveals itself and its narrative direction. Not in any turgid or tedious fashion, but rather in an unhurried, gentler and more thoughtful way. Universal Harvester rolls gently along its path with only a few disconcerting and probably deliberate hiccups. It starts in Iowa in the 1990s with a young man, still living at home with his father but unable to leave because of the weight of his mother’s death, years before, in a car crash. The trauma tethers Jeremy and his father together like the gravitational pull of a dead star in a comfortable and predictable but numb orbit, but it’s never something that either of them can discuss openly.
Jeremy works at a VHS rental store, so we’re assuredly early-Worldwide Web era. His job is simple, repetitive, and keeps him and his father in entertai…

The Last Werewolf Trilogy by Glen Duncan

A trilogy of werewolf novels, the remaining three books of Duncan’s published oeuvre left for me to read, and I’ve gone and devoured them all in one go. I’ve made similar mistakes before; reading every single book I could find by one author as soon as they’re found. It usually ends up in a colossal mess of plot lines, meaning and symbolism in the gray matter, and an inability to unravel one from the other and explain, convincingly, to anyone why they should be read – especially challenging when one’s former job was to sell books to people on the strength of personal recommendations. Nonetheless, I decided that to read these three contiguously made sense, in so far as I have a strong distaste at being left hanging on for the next instalment, be it television series’, serialised print articles or trilogies. And, *COP OUT KLAXON* to review them in one Mega Review Article was the way forward too. So, here’s the quick and habitual disclaimer / plea for clemency. This way, you’ll have to de…

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

I've thus far neglected to fill you in on my thoughts re: Metro 2033. My sincerest apologies dear reader. This I will now attempt to rectify in a manner befitting a committed (cough) reader-reviewer-blogger-type-person. 

I can't remember what prompted me to read this particular e-book, or the circumstances that made me download a copy. So much for contextual intertextuality, if there is such a thing. However, I do remember being surprised to find by the fact that there was already a sequel and that someone saw fit to code a gamer version (and a sequel to that too). I'm clearly on the ball.

As always in my experience of modern Russian fantasy / horror literature - think Max Frei or Sergei Lukyanenko - I have the distinct impression that lots of the clever Russian-ness has been left on the translator's floor. The writing feels overly elaborate in places and wilfully naive in others, and it's probable that much of the essential cultural reference is lost to someone unfa…

By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan