Thursday, December 17, 2009
One - Conrad Williams
buy - author site
The Deal: At this point in time, due to an RSI, I can only type for 10 minutes at a time. What you see below is what is hammered out before the timer goes off- and nothing more.
I told Miss Apricot that this book was all about exploring the father-son relationship, and that the colours suited her outfit perfectly, and she agreed to pose for the photo. Then I told her what it was also about, and she tried to eat my shorts, but I'd already taken the photo, nyah nyah. And the colours do suit her.
No misdirection, that is what the book is about, but it does it against the back drop of the apocalypse. And the bit that comes after the apocalypse. I have not read The Road, but one thing everyone comments on is that it appears to be a lot of very open and bleak landscape. That's what that book is.
This book is less about open and bleak landscape, and more about the catastrophic destruction of history and civilisation, and the horrible things you see and do while trying not to die. And even after the end of the world, that continues. Not much contemplation of landscape, unless you're contemplating sensible things, like what's a like spot for an ambush, are there any exit points, and oh fuckberries did something over there just move I think something moved oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck-
The first few chapters of this book are just...you know, I should have expected it really. It's Conrad Williams, in fact I think he's gone so far as to earn the middle title, so it's Conrad Fucking Williams, and of course the book is going to be like getting a stapler covered in twisted pokey staples shoved down my throat and rumble around in my gut. Of course it's going to flatten you by merely batting its eyelashes at you, and leave you stunned and reeling on the train, not even close to your station yet but having to close the book and look around and confirm what you just read has not happened, and if it did happen you'd be very lucky and die right away, so it's all good, think of rainbows and unicorns and do not lie down on the floor at the horror and futility of it all, because damn, the book is just that powerful.
So it should be. The end of the world is a powerful thing. Tossed about in pop culture so happily as it is, it's losing its teeth. This book is all teeth.
To my utter delight, the book showed signs of tying into that brilliantly cool world first seen in 'Nearly People'. In an odd sort of history lesson, it gives no answers as to what happened, or why, only revealing what it was like in those early days. (The horror, the horror...)
As you can probably tell, the lengths one man stretches his love and hope in order to survive on the inside in such an environment are extreme. It's not a kind book. It won't be gentle with you. It will awe you with the destruction of all things, awe you with the terrifying beauty of what now constitutes 'all things', impress you with its unforgiving, unflinching relentlessness, and when you put it down, you'll feel washed out and used up and wrung dry.
You tell yourself you never want to go through that again (and you know it's a lie).
Verdict: Powerful books will have powerful effects.