Currently Reading

Wylding Hall

It’s been a little bit too long since I finished Sunshine to really remember enough (sometimes I have the memory of a metaphorical goldfish, which helps when I want to reread things), but I certainly do remember that I liked it. My only complaint though is that it spent a long time getting to the climax and recovering from it—both very well done—but the capital-e Event itself didn’t really seem long enough to live up to it. Changing that would of course lead to and even longer book, but believe me I wouldn’t have minded.

Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand, turns out to be much shorter, though as usual I am only about halfway through. This book—as the blurb pretty explicitly explains—is presented in a documentary style, in which the characters alternate explaining the events as they experienced it. With one of its members recently deceased the young musicians of the 1970s folk band Windhollow Faire are sent by their manager to summer at Wylding Hall to record a second album without distractions. At some point, after the point I am at however, another member mysteriously disappears within the manor and is never seen again.

My favourite part of the book so far is the contradictions between the perceptions and statements of the different characters, which include both band members and assorted hangers on that were present at Wylding Hall at some time or another—they differ at times wildly in what they knew or thought, both at the time and in the book’s present. The very explicit “unreliable narrator” really helps the realism and the feeling that you really are getting to the bottom of something. The only problem is that the something hasn’t really happened yet, and in contrast to the perhaps the over-revealing blurb the characters are quite reluctant to do more than just hint at what they are yet to describe.

Still, I’m definitely enjoying reading them do it!

In other news: some day Amazon will figure out when The Third Nero is coming out, or in fact that its called that and what its cover will be. Some day.

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