Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville
I received a free copy of Three Moments of an Explosion from the publisher in return for an honest review.
You know that feeling you get when you come across something, and despite the fact that it's not fun or pleasant to observe, and you know you're going to regret watching because you'll never be able to wipe the images from your mind, images that will haunt you every time you close your eyes, yet you can't seem to look away? I kinda felt like that about this book.
On finishing the first story in this collection I couldn't have told you what it was about if I had been asked. It felt like a mishmash of different weird ideas all thrown into one short story, then split into three parts. Reading it was like what I would imagine having a bad acid trip would feel like. Nothing made any sense at all. I took me reading the first paragraph three or four times to just understand what the author was trying to say.
I figured OK, don't judge the book by just that one story, so I turned to the next one. Honestly, although it wasn't as weird, it was just as bad. OK, it was a bit weird, the plot was kinda cringe worthy but at least it wasn't as confusing as the first. I had quite a few niggles with it though. We have a women in a black jilbaab, for no other reason than to show she's not white. We have Portuguese cafes and an Islamic bookshop (context: the character runs past them in the story, nothing more), why even point this out instead of just cafe and bookshop. I get that you want to show you have people from different cultures in your story, perhaps? But not this way. Not just randomly thrown in in a way that seems forced or sticks out like a sore thumb as if to say "Look! I am culturally aware and not racist." That's how it came across when I read it.
I went on to read another couple of stories and then decided... I give in. DNF!! I can't read 400 pages of this stuff. I have never before been so confused when trying to read a book. Nothing feels complete or explained and it's a bit all over the place. It was like a form of torture trying to make sense of the words on the pages.
Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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