series of events. I finished it last week and liked it. In truth, I didn't think I would-- I think of myself of more of a literary reader and not that much interested in stories that take place in the future and involve spaceships. But then this is not the first time I've picked up sci-fi, thought it wasn't for me and been wrong.
The worst part of the novel is the end. The best part is the journey. When I started reading, several weeks back, I had too many other things on my plate. I'd pick it up as I climbed into bed, read a page and not be able to get any father. I did this for a couple of weeks, not getting past the first ten pages, rereading the parts I couldn't remember, trying to figure out who was who and why did I care? Then it all came together. I read just a little farther, went to bed not quite so tired one night, and that was all it took. Once I figured out who was who, I liked all the characters.
One of the appeals to this book is that the author, Mary Doria Russell, holds a Phd. in anthropology. Perhaps part of the reason why her characters have so much appeal, is that the author has spent a good amount of her career studying humanity. The field of anthropolgy is both art and science, encompassing world culture, history, linguistics and mythology-- all of which play a part in this novel.
Events take place in the future, but not the distant future. Our popular culture is still known and discussed. The role of religion, especially that of the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuits, is not that different from what it is today. The variety of attitudes the different characters have toward the Catholic Church is part of what makes the Church's role interesting in this story.
I find myself not wanting to explain the plot, not because it's not well plotted, but because it is. I went into this book expecting something other than what I got and found that process so much fun, that I'd like to give that back to you, the next reader.
EM, PWPL Reference Desk