Two books. Both failing for me in vastly different ways and all I can wonder is if they will get better.
Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi suffers (in my mind) from trying to be too intelligent.
As far as I know this is a book written for a Western audience and yet
the terms are incredibly Eastern in origin. I might look upon this as a
good thing, with a book and author taking the language of their fiction
in a different direction than what I'm used to. It might even be a refreshing change of course, however it ultimately just confuses me.
Perhaps another, with a greater penchant for language, would take more
naturally to The Windup Girl and enjoy the very different flavor of
language, but to me it comes across as too much work. A story needs to
flow naturally and avoid interrupting the reader from their flight
across the author's fancy as much as possible. Interruptions cast
out a reader—possibly to never return.
No author wants this.
something similar with Shogun, many years ago. That book actually
attempts to teach the Japanese language to you in prose—an admirable
attempt—however any such deviation from reading time can cause a loss
of what was learned and make any reattempt to tackle the behemoth a chore.
It is a hard thing for me to look at The Windup Girl and not think that I should like it. I've heard far too many good
things about it and heard Paolo himself speak most eloquently on the
book and other topics.
There is so much going right in this book,
the characters are different, each with their own objectives. The world
is different with a realistic take on what could happen in a "somewhat"
near future with global warming and the loss of petroleum reserves. I want to like it, I want to take that ride, but the terms keep kicking me out.
If there is a lesson to learn here, it is either that I should downgrade my reading to elementary school books, or that authors should be aware of their audience and while innovating: try not to go too far off of the beaten path. I'll reference The Writing Excuses in saying that you want a combination of the Familiar and the Strange. Too much of either, without a balance, and off you go—into the drink. *SPLASH*
What about you? Did the spring release, or collapse under such intense pressure? I speak in metaphor here, sometimes. My apologies if it doesn't amuse. It amuses me. So...
(...Oh and apparently I lied. Yes, this post is a day after the last, but it got too long; so, next Tuesday, Part 2 will have my thoughts on Vampire Empire.)