Monday, March 31, 2014

Nebula Award Nominee: A Stranger in Olondria

This is more of an acknowledgment than it is a review.  I suspected that I would struggle with A Stranger in Olondria and I was correct.  There is a formality to the prose that as a reader, I found difficult to engage with.  The novel takes the form of a memoir, and to me, it had the feeling of a hundreds of years old memoir. 

This isn't to say that how I felt about A Stranger in Olondria is representative of the overall consensus.  I believe that I am in the minority opinion.  Nic Clarke raved about it at Strange HorizonsAmal El-Mohtar was entranced at Tor.comAbigail Nussbaum was impressed, and has since said that "the farther I get from this novel, the more special it seems."  Cheryl Morgan liked it.  They aren't wrong.  This is the difference in who readers are and what they bring to the table.  For all the things that Nick, Amal, Abigail, and Cheryl appreciated about the novel, I failed to. 

I am just unable to express this very eloquently at all, and I was only able to push through the first half of the book before putting it aside.  If I hadn't planned to cover the various Nebula nominated works, I probably wouldn't have mentioned the book at all.  I tend to not talk about the books I don't finish because I seldom have anything constructive to add to the conversation.  Other people have much smarter things to say about this than I. 


Naru Sundar said...

I too had the same reaction to it. There have been a great spurt of "city" books in the last five years, some of them great (Ambergris, Virconium, Bas-Lag series) and others that seemed to try too hard. I found this one to be the latter. Beautifully written, but I never found myself sinking into the world.

Joe said...

Speaking of city books, you should absolutely read VanderMeer's Finch. Damn, that was a good book.