on 18 October 2010
Bakker's previous thriller NEUROPATH is one of my favorite novels, so my expectations for this novel were very high. In retrospect, higher than the book could ever have lived up to. But it's still a fine novel.
The most striking thing about the book is its protagonist, Disciple Manning. (What's up with Bakker's implausibly-named main characters anyway?) He narrates the book first person, bringing us very to close to him. And to be fair, he's a jerk. Having a perfect memory makes him see all the patterns in human behavior. He can't really make friends or sustain a relationship because people bore him intensely. No doubt Bakker intended Disciple to be unlikeable, but it probably will be a hurdle for many readers. The concept of a character with perfect recall does enable Bakker to make some profound reflections on human interaction and belief.
Once you get past Disciple's attitude, the novel is quite enjoyable, and like Neuropath, utterly uncompromising. If i have to name a flaw, it would be the book's length. It is simply too short. Bakker is better known for writing huge fantasy novels, and one gets the feeling that this was a breather project for him. Had the novel been longer, he could have explored the Framers' belief system more - which is interesting, but we learn too little about it.
All in all, I would recommend giving this book a go. For all its flaws, it will make you think.
on 25 November 2010
Disciple Manning is a jerk. But a very entertaining, interesting and intelligent jerk. If you can live with that, you will probably enjoy this book, a very well paced thought-provoking thriller with a few good twists.
If you can't stand Disciple, you certainly won't like the book either, since he is the narrator.
Some of the themes regarding consciousness, memory and irrational human behaviour have been explored by Bakker in his earlier books, and if you (like me) follow his excellent "Second Apocalypse" fantasy sequence you will be familiar with many of the ideas, though they are presented in a different way here.
My only gripes are the ending, which felt somewhat too brief, and that Mr. Bakker's philosophical and cognitive points feel repetitive after a while. That might be due to me having been exposed to said points before through his other writings, though.
All in all, a very decent thriller that makes you think.
on 10 June 2013
I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the concept of a man who couldn't forget. His wicked character (male chauvinistic it has to be said, ladies) had me chuckling to myself. The wife would ask as to the why but I could not, nor would I explain - that would have ended in a half hour discussion. You either like this type of dry humour or you don't. I like a book that can take me somewhere beyond my own imagination and this book did. Well written, clearly tongue in cheek for sure. A refreshingly good read. I look forward to reading it again in a few years when I've forgotten the details. I liked this book so much that I also bought it to send to a few friends who I know will appreciate it.