Check out my first video that goes along with this review! Follow me as I select and pick out the book, and give some more details on my reading experience!
Shelf 2 – Row 6 – Book 30 (again!)
This week, I let my dear friend Wesley select my genre. Wesley stared intently for a moment at the three colored balls in front of him, then select sci-fi. Did I mention Wesley was a cat?
After a trip to Half Price Books and some random number selection, I stumbled upon The Glimmering by Elizabeth Hand.
I knew I was in for something interesting upon picking this one off the shelf. I sighed with relief when I saw that the book had a much better looking cover art then last weeks. The deep purple that encompassed the cover drew me in. The outer pages of the book contrasted its cover – a sickly yellow poisoned by exposure and time. I could tell that this book hadn’t been read too heavily (if at all) as its spine seemed like new. I always wonder about a book’s history in cases like these. It looks as if it had been upon someone’s shelf for a very long time without even a glance!
Opening the book revealed very fine text upon its 525 pages. Chapters seemed to take their time as a new one would only come along every thirty pages or so. Not too much at first glance, but with its heavy text I knew that I wouldn’t be making too much progress by the end of my three hours!
The cover art mystified me. Gargoyles, a giant clock, and purple clouds? I had no idea what I had in store. Little did I know that my confusion would only grow from here…
THE RUNDOWN (WHAT I READ)
Earth has began to crumble at the turn of the millennium. After failed attempts to restore the ozone, melting glaciers release methane which corrupts our skies for good. Electricity comes as a rarity and only for frequent use by the wealthy, gangs plague the streets, and riots are common. Beside all this, society continues on.
Eventually an event called The Glimmering occurs – which really spells doom for everyone. Its unclear as to if this has already happened, or if it will happen, but the book references it a lot. I’m not sure if I was supposed to have this figured out early or maybe by the end..that’s the fun of the three hour read I guess. Mystery away!
The story jumped between two characters in the first four chapters I managed to get through. One, a rich, gay publisher named Jack, struggles to keep his magazine and relationships alive following The Glimmering. He deals with visions and strange behavior from himself at night. The other character, a Christian rocker named Trip, merely deals with lust and fame. Really. In a world crumbling apart, his main plot detail is that he had sex with a young woman in a planetarium…
You can see how all over the place this book seemed after my read to me.
THE THREE HOUR READ
This book was confusing. I felt like it took a long time to make much progress in it. I had no idea which direction it was going in and when I was reading something actually occurring or not. But I liked that. I really did enjoy this one.
For a science fiction novel – it did alright. It didn’t go too crazy with this vision of the (at the time written) future. I’d place this somewhere in the realism department of sci-fi, and then probably the downer department. Hand really did not have the best hopes for humanity when writing this book. Not only do we destroy ourselves from pollution and mistreatment of the environment, she tells these stories of surviving individuals who continue to fail humanity. Jack deals with drugs and borderline abusing relationships. Trip takes advantage of a young girl. Oh, and this is with the world crumbling apart behind them.
Hand’s tone does very well at playing suspense when there really isn’t much to be had. For example, Jack undergoes a crazy sequence where I wasn’t sure if he’d make it out alive or not. Turns out it was nothing more than a fever dream. Though the way she wrote and described the dream had me on the edge of my seat. She also takes the story in unpredictable ways in just a matter of a few paragraphs. I had no idea the Christian superstar would be having sex with a young woman a few pages after meeting him.
Her dialogue is very forgettable. Her characters struck me in a much better way when they were mute and left alone with their thoughts, otherwise they just seemed very fake.
Overall though, the plot had me confused, but then again I had only just scratched the surface of the book. I’d be excited to give this one some more of my time in the future!
THE FINAL STATS
Progress made: 24% (125 pages out of 525)
Book’s initial condition upon purchase – Aged but clean.
Any breaks during the 3-hour session? – Yes, the book was read over three one hour sessions.
The Glimmering is odd as anything out there – but I’d say my cat made the right choice this week. This book is one to make a commitment too, as its confusing nature may be off putting to some.
Likelihood to continue on: 7/10
Interested in the book yourself, or hungry for more opinions? Check out on Amazon Glimmering