Сергей Красиков (eska) wrote,
Сергей Красиков
eska

Гэри Вулф про "Островитян" Кристофера Приста

The Islanders features not only unreliable narrators, but un- reliable narrators within unreliable narrators, and the degree to which Priest generates a kind of Nabokovian suspense by inviting us to un- spool the various narrative threads is as mas- terful as it is playful. Dictionary-style novels, in which the plotlines are distributed among a succession of narratives and viewpoints, have been written before, of course – one thinks of Milorad Pavic’s Dictionary of the Khazars, or Georges Perec’s life: a user’s manual, or even Geoff Ryman’s 253 – but what emerges here is more than a narrative trick. Rather it's a set of interwoven tales that develop a surpris- ing cumulative power and unity.
...
In fact, at- tentive use of mystery-reading skills might not be a bad way to approach The Islanders, since often a minor detail in one chapter, such as a smudge on a hand, is later revealed as highly significant, as in a Gene Wolfe novel. But like Wolfe, Priest is not satisfied with a catalogue of ingenious narrative tricks; his prose is sup- ple, elegant, and seductive, his insights about memory and perception tantalizing, his skill at visualizing the radically different land and seascapes of the islands endlessly compelling. The Islanders may seem a bit of a Chinese puzzle box at first, but for readers who stick with it – and it’s not really that hard to catch on – it’s as neatly fitted and elegant as the most gorgeous of those boxes, and it contains some very neat treasures.

Locus 10/2011
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