it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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"He took a duck in the face at 250 knots."

So I finished reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition last night. I'm not sure I agree with Jeremy that it's the best book of 2003, but it's certainly a very good book: tense, interesting, and full of quirky and powerfully individual characters. The craftsmanship with which it's built is striking; the language taut; the characterizations handled with a great deal of confidence and auctorial trust in the audience. It's sharp and relevant and good-humored.

Also, it's funny.

My quibbles, I fear, are not minor. One is that the villain is too transparently the villain. From her first appearance, there's little mystery as to who the bad guy will be. And once it turns out that the uber bad guys she's working for are not in fact bad guys but merely overprotective daddies... well. It seemed sort of a let down, and a too-tidy ending for what seemed a gloriously messy novel of intrigue and backstabbing.

Also, the book resolves itself merely in an endless series of explanations, wherein we are assured that not only the creepy advertising executive but also the Russian mafia boss are really not nearly as bad as we have been led all along to suspect they were. Also, Cayce, who's been a delightfully tricky, quirky, and ever so slightly mad heroine throughout, is not only unconscious for the resolution of the storyline, but not involved. Moral obligation is removed from her shoulders, alas, and through the outside agency of a White Knight on a fiery steed (not quite a deus ex machina, not at all, but a well-established plot thread--but still, not her own doing) she is saved from a Fate Worse Than Death. And then everything's explained, and it's all a big misunderstanding, ho--and the marriages begin.

I'm left feeling that the ending of a screwball Shakespearean comedy has been tacked onto a copy of Catch-22. I suspect Gibson may have made such a mess he didn't quite know how to give it a tidy ending, otherwise.

The tidiness is indeed satisfying, and emotionally resonant, and may work very well for other readers. I kinda like messes. *g*

On the other hand. It's a fine, fine, fine novel, and I enjoyed it tremendously, and I recommend it highly to anybody who likes spy thrillers, crime novels, near-future science fiction (which it isn't), romantic comedy, or fine craftsmanship.

And I'm off to San Diego.

Oh, lots of various exercise over the weekend and the last two days, including swimming and yoga and weights and some other stuff. I'm not any less chubby, but the muscle tone and flexibility are coming back, bit by bit, and so is my energy. Although I did *something* to my lower back yesterday. Probably while wrestling with the mastiff.

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