Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Reads and Recommendations

I just finished reading Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card today and I give it two thumbs up. That would be the thumb from each hand opposed to the actual standard from ol' Siskel and Ebert back in the day when each man got to give only one thumb of approval.


The novel starts in communist Russia then whips through a dizzying time line. The 90s, medieval Ukraine, Kiev, an enchanted pit in the woods.

To begin with I should say that it's a good fantasy novel. Hands down. The author is clear, consisce, thoughtful, realistic, creates great characters that you love to love and love to hate. He builds enough ambiguity in alongside hints and foreshadowing that you don't always figure out what's going on right away but once he reveals it to you, you feel smart and proud for figuring out as much as you did.

The next thing I should say is that the more you know about Russian folktales or folktales in general, the more you will enjoy this novel. (Which is also the reason it was assigned in my folktales as literature class.) The novel relies heavily on such tales. In part because the main character is a scholar of ancient languages and the social/linguistic patterns of folktales ... but in all his studying he never though he'd ever step in to any of those fairytales. Which leads to the second reason it's great to already know Baba Yaga stories and Ivan stories from Russian folklore: the author imagines where these tales have come from and how ordinary lives got twisted into the stuff of stories.

Highly Recommended