Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Inked Girl With Poor Instincts Regarding Nature

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Only one review for the trilogy; I know, I'm tight lipped. But if they aren't read as a series they really don't make sense. Each book deals with a different aspect of Salander: her genius and dysfunction, her history, and finally her redemption. The plot was intricate, the prose was acceptable and the characters fantastic. Horrible people, but well drawn, like some of da Vinci's sketches: one wonders why on earth he bothered drawing that particular person. True, if you see a car wreck you'll see people around with cameras, but that type of morbid fascination doesn't always extend to the corners in art. With Larsson, it kind of does.

There is a disturbing moral vacuity that one finds on reading him. Adultery, theft, murder--all are acceptable. Rape is horrific, burning a rapist alive is good. Sodomy is appalling, unless it's in revenge. The one moral standard seems to be rage: if they deserve it, you damned well better give it. And smile as you do. So no, I'd not recommend him for much beyond a character sketch, except to a reader with a fine-toothed comb.

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Ecce, Charles!

Descent Into HellDescent Into Hell by Charles Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charles the Inkling Williams. Wow. I've been planning on reading him for some time, but had been hesitant due to mixed reviews from unnamed persons. Upon finding Frank Peretti upon their shelves, I happily heaved their advice overboard and bought the first Williams I could find, which happened to be Descent Into Hell.

/>Reviewing this book is hard. It's a type of Supernatural Realism with a heavy dose of Mythical Faerie, and blended with some of the most superb, even sublime prose that I've encountered. Nothing really happens in the book, even with a succubus and opened graves, nothing really happens. You feel, at alternating chapters, as if you're walking either up a flight of stairs into an open vista of a far green country bordered by breakers curled like a lover's wet hair, or as if you're walking down a flight of stairs into a cellar of unnamed and unknown horrors with a whispered voice hissing "mad, mad, you are mad..."

There are two truly "main" characters, and then there are a handful of peripheral characters and one central character. There are two, yea verily even three timelines coinciding; there is Lilith and Death, there is Poetry and Life. There is the Real, and there is the Fake; Zion and Gomorrah, and I could explain the entire book without giving a single thing away.

The only explanation for Williams being as unknown as he is is two-fold: either this is by far his best work, or he was simply overshadowed by the vast output of Lewis and the incomparable genius of Tolkien. But this book is so very worth the read. I'll be adding him to my shelves as often as I find him.

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