[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
I finished Nicola Griffith's Slow River then read The Fox Boy by Peter Walker.

Slow River was a strong book that lost its way towards the end. In the tide-turning scene where the water treatment plant is sabotaged and Lore has to save lives, she was so competent and in control that there was never any doubt she'd succeed. So, no tension, no drama, just a win that felt inevitable and weak. She could really have done with a bigger threat, to make a mistake, or to overcome an inner struggle. Not just walk all over the problem.

Generally, the ending of the book felt disappointingly weak. It could probably have done with one more edit from the author or perhaps a development edit by an editor. Something to beef it up. The book Griffith started to write and the intriguing characters she created deserved better.

Worth a read, though, despite its problems. There's life in the characters and the world they inhabit is plausible yet has just that touch of unfamiliarity.

The Fox Boy (I just tried to type Box Foy, but hey, it's a new laptop and the keys are tooclosetogether for me) is a non-fiction account of a Maori boy kidnapped by other Maoris, then re-kidnapped by white settlers in New Zealand. It's an odd little book, a mixture of the Fox Boy's story, Walker's experiences while researching his story, and a more general account of how the Maoris narrowly avoided the war of extermination many settlers were anxious for. A lovely, readable, compassionate book.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
The book du jour is Nicola Griffith's Slow River, recently re-released in a smart Gollancz Masterworks edition. After being kidnapped and publicly humiliated, courtesy of the internet, Lore begins a new life with the mysterious Spanner. In a parallel narrative, Lore begins a new new life without Spanner, working at a water treatment plant where she becomes increasingly concerned about the short-handedness and the lack of attention to safety procedures. The reader is also given little 'dips' into Lore's childhood as the youngest child of a rich family of business people.

The narrative switches not only between time and place but also between POV and tense; sometimes it's first person and past tense, sometimes it's third person and present tense. It's an elegant conceit that serves to underline the idea that Lore is different people at different times, to emphasise her frequent changes of identity, but it also serves to make the narrative choppy, to make it harder for at least this reader to sustain continuous engagement with the story. Swings and roundabouts.

Definitely enjoying the book, but now we've hit an infodump where Lore is explaining to a new treatment plant employee exactly how everything works, and it's slowed down accordingly. Daresay it's just a minor bump in an otherwise entertaining journey.

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