Yesterday, I said that I knew Ma was ill because she didn’t want to read. That was pretty much me in December. I watched a lot of Grey’s Anatomy but read hardly anything at all. Two books.
I’ve had this (and the next two books) on the TBR list on my Kindle for a while. And this is my second attempt at it, it took a while to understand what was going on and to picture it in my head. Part of that was the language which was clever and part of it was the impossibility for me of imagining being in the dark all of the time. The setting is a world far away from Earth were two people are left on a world with no sun. The flora and fauna are bio-luminescent and outside of the forests, the world is cold, snowy and dark. The story starts about 5 generations after the first two, and all human life is the produce of incestuous relationships. There is something quite horrifying about being so desperate for sex that you would sleep with your brother for a start. So with the world being in darkness and that, the world of Dark Eden is very dark. So we have an interbred population, some of them are ‘batfaces’ (harelip) or ‘clawfeet’ and there has been a huge amount of linguistic drift which the tellers of the story use. It was really interesting to see the adaption to the world in the use of language. Time starts to be measured in ‘wombtimes’ because without a sun to rise or set the concept of a day doesn’t make any sense. The story really charts the rise of patriarchy in this world were everyone appears childlike and the oddness of people who have never experienced things like electricity or buildings talking about them. From the outside the way that the people of Eden have discarded things they don’t need or don’t work or can’t use – reading, clothes, buildings and reduced life and language down to the basics is something to think about. I don’t know if I enjoyed this or not, I was vaguely repulsed by the characters all the way through but I wanted to find out how it was going to end. I’m looking forward to the next book, which is set 400 years after this one, to see how Chris Beckett thinks his society has developed.
I was disappointed with this. It was all a bit easy and while I didn’t expect it to be the most intellectually challenging book, this was light even by those standards. I think there wasn’t enough, the heroine and hero had horrible things happen to them but I didn’t really feel that they needed to recover from them or grow in any way in order to move forward. It was all poof, sorted done.
And that’s what I read in 2017.
The full list is here.