The Etched CityThe Etched City by K.J. Bishop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply brilliant.

It does require a lot of patience, this novel, since around 60% of it is setup for a series of events which, at the beginning, seem to bear no relation to anything else that is going on.

My advice is to read it as you would read a Wolfe book: by which I mean, sit back and enjoy the exquisite prose, and stop worrying about what you are supposed to be focusing on. The author has a goal, the story does go somewhere, and everything is included with a purpose.

I fear that we are losing the ability to read books like this in the mainstream, despite its relatively recent publication (although it’s been 11 years since it came out–not that recent I guess). I notice that many readers and writers want to be able to see a book’s direction, from the get go, which always puzzles me. Why on earth would you want to read something where you are basically invited to guess the thrust of the narrative in advance?

Enjoy the surprises, the allegories, the musings, the carefully constructed scenes.

Oh, and the head hopping. I’m loving that. I love books which break rules in this way and I think the head hopping here is brilliant.

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