Reading list

Being on a boat for a week means a lot of spare time for reading. Here are the books I read last week.

Kafka on the shore, a long allegorical and fantastic novel by Haruki Marukami. Here is a pretty good review from the New York Times. The book is indeed obscure and confusing, with unexpected forays of the supernatural, but I liked it very much nonetheless. The Oedipus story of the boy in search of his mother is gripping, although I missed some of the Greek (and all of the Japanese) mythology references. Puzzling, at times perturbing, a major novel.

Market forces is the fourth novel of Richard Morgan that I have read. It is much less successful than the three other ones constituting the Takeshi Kovacs cycle, telling the story of a corporate Mad Max like universe where road duels are legal and where mercenary companies are controlling wars all over the World. Some psychological aspects of the story are interesting, like the conflict between the main character and his relatives, however the whole universe is not credible and there are too many deus ex machina occurences. I do not think I would have finished Market forces elsewhere than on a boat! (I am still looking forward the fantasy novel Richard Morgan wrote…)

The winner in the series is certainly The lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. I loved the book and read it in less than twenty four hours! It is a sort of fantasy Ocean’s Eleven, following my son’s description of the book (he also read the book, right after Best served cold), setting a clever con artist in a Venezia-like city and following his team through increasingly complex schemes until all falls apart. The dialogues are quite funny, the setting is completely convincing, and the background plot unravels superbly. I am clearly looking forward the second volume in the series. Red seas under red skies. (The following volumes are in the coming, apparently due to an on-going depression of the author…) One highly critical review of  The lies of Locke Lamora on Strange Horizons Reviews induced a lot of flak: I however think the reviewer makes the right point when she states that “Lamora [the character] is not very interesting”. It is true that the book somehow lacks an in depth psychological analysis of the characters, incl. Locke Lamora. Nonetheless, it makes for “an enjoyable summer novel—not much depth, but a whole heck of a lot of fun” (to steal from the review out of context!).

8 Responses to “Reading list”

  1. Besides, the depiction of the company-owned social landscape reminded me nicely of Frederik Pohl’s “Space Merchants” and “Merchants’ War” — with investment companies instead of advertising agencies.

  2. I beg to differ on Market’s Force: while the road-warrior aspect is purely bling, I enjoyed the growing chasm in the character’s character, torn between the excitation of his ruthless and amoral line of work and his life’s and wfie’s principles. It may not be a deep psychological study, but it drew some interesting comparisons: as a Londonian postdoc often contacted by head hunters from the City waving a tripled-salary overnight, it rung a bell. Morgan’s writing is not Bradbury’s either, but it is flowing quite nicely without ever standing in the way — and I found it a good catcher, absorbing the reader. Now, of course, I read it in a boring London tube, not in amazing sights off the gulf of mexico.

  3. […] is the last book by Richard K. Morgan I read (after the Kovacs series, Market Forces, and The Steel Remains). It has also  been published under the title Thirteen (or Th1rte3n..) […]

  4. […] sequel to the [terrific] Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch has this somehow lame title, Red Seas Under Red Skies… I […]

  5. […] with Dragons, I had bought in Lancaster last summer but could not carry with me to the US (and onto the boat!). It reads wonderfully, just like the previous volumes, and so I wonder why it took the author so […]

  6. […] on the boat for several days meant some of us exhausted the few books we had brought and started looking for others’ discarded books. My daughter took David […]

  7. Scott Lynch is my go-to guy for a book that I know I’m gonna enjoy. I’ve read the 2 books in that series like 5 times each!

  8. If you liked Murakami, and particularly the magic realism, enough to read more, hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world is superb.

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