MapleBooks is only six months old and it already feels too restricted! When I started the blog, I wanted to focus on Canadian speculative fiction since it encompasses my favourite genres: Science-Fiction, Fantastic, and Horror. Trouble is, I can’t resist a good book and Canada is full of them. I recently went to the library and came back with The Geography of Pluto by Christopher DiRaddo, a gripping novel about love and loss. I discovered CBC 100 Novels: I read The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (titled “Someone Knows my Name” in US), an enlightening and heartbreaking historical novel about the slave trade, and then Room by Emma Donoghue, probably inspired by the terrible story of Natascha Kampusch and the horrifying Fritzl case. I loved them all and really want to share them on MapleBooks, even though they are not speculative fictions. So here we are:
MapleBooks is going to review Literary Fiction too.
Now, reading all those books, I fell behind with my reviews, which is why I only have two this month. I also put the World Tour on standby, because I couldn’t get the book I wanted from the two destinations I thought of (and which I won’t reveal yet!). But it’s coming soon!
Books reviewed this month
Other reads this month
The Line by William L.J. Galaini
I have never had such mixed feelings about a book.
First, the story of “The Line” is great. Just great. It’s a fantastic new take on time travel and really well executed. The station in which the scientists are working looks really cool and different from the typical ice-cold design spaceship. It’s a daring hard sci-fi novel with plenty of creative ideas. And once again, I really enjoy the plot. If I had to rate the story alone, it would be a 4.
However, the book suffers from a lack of polish in multiple aspects. First, the quality of the writing is irregular: while the second part is exciting, tense, and gripping, the first 100 pages are rather plain. All the characters speak in a similar way and the narration fails to create a climax around important events. Second, the use of acronyms and army vocabulary made it hard to understand sometimes (I had to google many of them). Finally, I think a publisher/editor/proof-reader could have helped tremendously with the typography (font-size, justification of the text, typos, use of section break…) as well as some issues with the narrative development and character consistency.
“The Line” is not a perfect novel but I believe any Science-Fiction lover will enjoy it, considering its great story and thought-provoking ending.
The Woman in the Dunes by Abe Kōbō
I got this book from a giveaway on Brilliant Years so thank you so much Carola (who, already, directed me to the fabulous Stories of Ibis by Hiroshi Yamamoto for the SFF World Tour stop-over in Japan!). I read it in French (hence the book cover) and I’m glad I did because Abe Kōbō’s style is so dense, so tight, that sometimes I found it hard to follow even in my mother tongue. However, I really enjoyed this novel. In the story, a man gets lured into a remote village built in the sand. Individual houses are trapped in deep holes and everyday, inhabitants must clear the surrounding of their house to not get buried in sand. The whole book is about the protagonist’s reaction to captivity: his incredulity, his denial, his anger and his way to rationalize the situation. I loved how the nature of the situation, a captivity during which basically nothing happens, still managed to reveal the protagonist’s personality and his critiques of modern society.