Tuesday, January 15, 2013

[Mini Review] JD's Take: The Islanders (Christopher Priest)

I was pretty excited about this book. Firstly, because Christopher Priest (of The Prestige prestige) impressed the hell out of me and secondly because it was described to me as having a "narrator with an agenda". Great! I love unreliable narrators and Priest is just the guy to write one!

The Islanders is set up as a travel guide to a globe-spanning archipelago, with each chapter offering information about an island. As an exercise in world building, it's spectacular. Priest creates a believably weird world and every entry offers something new. Often these "travel guides" are stories about things that happened on the islands, and those stories are quite interesting, and often quite emotional. However, the over-arching plot of the book is... obscure. It never dragged me on to the next chapter, and while there are recurring characters (in form of "famous artist such-and-such visited this island too! And did this thing!) there isn't really an overall story.

In the end, I found it interesting but disappointing. The narrator's "agenda" was either too obvious or too obscure to be interesting (I'm honestly not sure if I caught the "point" of the book or not, from the narrator's point of view) and I was really hoping that this would be more than it was. It drew me along, but in the end I wasn't entirely sure why.

No comments: