Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Book #4: Nineteen Seventy Seven
This installment of the Red Riding Quartet is definitely tougher to find an anchor in than Nineteen Seventy Four, the first of the series. With Nineteen Seventy Seven, Peace introduces two parallel narrators, whose eventual destination merges, but in the meantime, it seems that splitting the story does more harm than good, making it somewhat difficult for the reader to jump into and out of their minds. With Eddie, in Nineteen Seventy Four, it was easier to be immersed; with Bob and Jack, it's slightly more confounding. Although both narrators were minor characters in the first novel, my perceptions of them were dramatically changed, which I'm sure is part of the point of these novels. No matter what you think a person might appear to be, those appearances are almost certainly wrong.
Peace's writing here is cynical and angry and dark, very dark. Even darker than the first one, but the prose is perhaps even stronger. It's such an odd thing to find a lyrical quality to such violent language.
To me the issue is most certainly not the writing but the story layout. It's a little over long in getting to the crux of the matter. While the detailing is certainly there, it doesn't always help the narrative move forward. The end picks up nicely though, and the promise of some sort of conclusion in the upcoming books is certainly enough to keep me interested.
3 out of 5