Once again we have a backlog of reviews to get out so to clear out the backlog we’ll be doing another series of mini reviews for the 1001 list books we’ve both read over the last few months. We’ll be giving your our verdict on each of the books to help you decide whether you should read it or pass. Let us know if any strike your fancy. Click on the title links to buy the book on Amazon. Read more
Posts by Book Worm
Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers! We hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season. As we approach 2018, Book Worm and I have lots of plans for the blog. In a few days we’ll be posting our top 10 books of 2017 and we’ll also be announcing a new schedule for Read Around the World for those who want to join us. Today, Book Worm will be reviewing a new book by Jon McGregor. Keep reading to find out what she thought. Read more
Book Worm is back with another review from our backlog. The Refugees was one of the books our March Madness reading challenge bracket. Keep reading to see what she thought of the book. Read more
Book worm is getting us back on track with our blog schedule with a book that might be good enough to break my reading slump. Check it out.
Gnomon by Nick Harkaway
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Book Worm and/or Jen
Find it here: Gnomon
This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Gnomon, which took Harkaway more than three years to complete, is set in a world of ubiquitous surveillance. Pitched as “a mind-bending Borgesian puzzle box of identity, meaning and reality in which the solution steps sideways as you approach it”, it features: a detective who finds herself investigating the very society she believes in, urged on by a suspect who may be an assassin or an ally, hunting through the dreams of a torture victim in search of the key to something she does not yet understand; a banker who is pursued by a shark that swallows Fortune 500 companies; Saint Augustine’s jilted mistress who reshapes the world with miracles; a refugee grandfather turned games designer who must remember how to walk through walls or be burned alive by fascists; and a sociopath who falls backwards through time in order to commit a murder.
Book Worm’s Thoughts: I love a novel with a twisted timeline and a story that messes with your head, and boy does this book do that. From the moment I read the first sentence I was hooked. I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and the more I read, the more deeply I feel in love with the book.
At over 700 pages it took me a while to read, but when I got to the last 20% I didn’t want the book to end. Then I was hit with the anxiety what if, after all this build up, the ending is a let down? Don’t worry it wasn’t! I really felt the time I invested in reading this book was paid back by the amazing world to which Harkaway transported me.
I can’t really say much about the plot because the joy of this book is immersing yourself in each narrative and trying to catch the points where they overlap and the clues hidden within. I think I missed a lot of clues and I won’t claim to fully understand the book but that didn’t stop me loving it.
The other things I loved are the observations about people and their relationship to books and the ways in which books were connected to life. Here are a few quotes I can’t resist sharing:
“The human condition is most accurately chronicled in pulp, I think. The ugly and ordinary lusts, the contradictory drives, are all ignored by more self-consciously poetic writers striving to peel away the dross to reveal the inner person who of course exists only as the sum of the dross.”
“These books exist, one sometimes thinks, only in the rumour and desire they excite.”
“People will be very alarmed, and in his experience they always feel better knowing there’s a bookshop open” TRUTH
While I loved this book I know there will be people who won’t love it so here are a few warnings: 1) Harkaway loves making you work. Don’t expect an easy read. The writing can be convoluted and very detailed I have seen a lot of reviews calling the book boring because of the level of detail; 2) If you want a book you will understand, forget it. I am not sure anyone will truly understand it, and those who claim to will all have their own different understanding (in my opinion); and 3) The criticism of modern politics is very blunt (like a hammer) and it’s clear where Harkaway stands (if you voted for Trump or Brexit be prepared to be offended).
Who would like this book? I would recommend this to those who like a longer more in-depth read that makes you think and question yourself. I would say if you loved 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami or The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell you will love this as it has the same feel as these (well it did for me).
Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Gnomon
We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think?
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