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Finch Audio CD – Audiobook, 2 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (2 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469280450
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469280455
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.9 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Review

'Finch is - well, it's Farewell, My Lovely if Philip Marlowe worked for pod-people while snacking on Alice's Wonderland mushrooms. It's The Name of the Rose if Sean Connery's character was a conglomeration of self-aware spores instead of a mediaeval monk. It's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold if all the agents were also testing psychedelic drugs and hung out in a postapocalyptic Emerald City instead of Eastern Europe. More importantly, Finch is a really good book - exciting, dark, suspenseful, and wonderfully weird.' Tad Williams 'I can't remember ever reading a book like Finch. Audacious... extravagant... macabre. I'm impressed Stephen R. Donaldson Fungal noir. Steampunk delirium. Paranoid spy thriller ... A clear signal, if one were ever needed, that VanderMeer remains one of modern fantasy's most original and fearless pioneers' Richard K. Morgan 'Wow, what a cool novel. Heavy with shadows and dark as sin detective fantasy... Hell I loved it. In fact, I'm a little jealous' Joe R. Lansdale 'Finch just blew me to hell and gone... I loved the meeting of the grime and the sublime and oh so beautifully crafted... Think Cormac McCarthy... with an amazing nod to Lovecraft and still that doesn't capture the spell this novel casts' Ken Bruen 'Fans of the avant garde will appreciate VanderMeer's latest work. VanderMeer skillfully pairs horror motifs with dreamlike imagery' Wall Street Journal '[An] intriguing and highly original novel... VanderMeer can write beautifully' Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer writes for The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly. He has won two World Fantasy Awards and has been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award and the Philip K. Dick Award. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his editor wife Anne. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Niall Alexander on 18 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
At long last: Finch. Nearly a year since its publication in the States, the Locus nominee has come to bookstores closer to home, courtesy of stellar new Atlantic Books imprint Corvus. I don't often dwell on something so tertiary as cover art in my reviews, but the original Underland Press edition came adorned with a truly remarkable piece of work by John Coulthart at once spectacular and stark - a startling and indeed award-winning composition that perfectly captured the fungal wonders of the city of Ambergris a century after the events of Shriek: An Afterword. A new edition means a new cover, of course, and it gives me great pleasure to say the new art nearly equals the darkly fantastic charm of the old. Corvus have traded Finch's grimy noir looks for a hallucinatory fusion of colour that brings David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas to mind, with fiery organic pinks set against the faded blues of the industry the grey caps have overpowered. The gorgeous cover is but the first thing about Finch that will take your breath away; far, far from the last.

Six years ago, the gray caps swallowed an Ambergris already decimated by decades of petty civil strife. With the city weakened and its people hopelessly divided, the mushroom monstrosities that had colonised the cave systems beneath the great state rose up to rule over the citizens. Now, those who survived through the unspeakable horrors of The Rising live in a state of perpetual paranoia: there is something for them to fear around every corner, some terrible consequence of the fungal invasion on every street, every building, every person.

Ambergris has become a vibrant city of red, green and gold; purplish hues and dirty spatters of all the lurid shades of an artist's palette have infiltrated its every aspect in spore form.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Finch" is third in a trilogy although it can be read on its own - I enjoyed it a lot even though I hadn't read either City of Saints & Madmen or Shriek: An Afterword. In form it is a hard boiled detective story. Laconic sentences. A bleak outlook. A solitary hero. However, the mean streets of Ambergris are rather - odd. The city has been occupied by alien fungoid creatures, "Gray caps" who lord it over the remaining humans, assisted by their creations the Partials, part-human, part-fungus and also by a team of detectives - Finch and his colleagues.

In the midst of a decaying, half drowned city, whose citizens are pressed into work camps to construct two enigmatic towers for the gray caps, the detectives attempt to behave as if nothing is awry, investigating calls to find missing cats or resolve domestic disputes - and murders. Which is where we come upon Finch, up to his eyes in a case with sinister political overtones, trying to do his job, satisfy his boss, the gray cap called "Heretic", avoid the gangster Stark and the rebels, and keep his friends safe. Over a single week, everything goes to pieces and we learn that Finch is keeping dangerous secrets.

This book has an audacious concept which Vandermeer carries off with amazing aplomb. The cloying, seedy atmosphere of Ambergris is conveyed perfectly and the plot twists continue to the very end. Decaying Ambergris reminded me somewhat of
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By T. Mullan on 23 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you liked Shreik you'll live Finch. It's more accessible and more entertaining than Shreik but just as good, just as haunting, just as creepy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Finch returns the reader to the much loved city of Ambergris that has appeared in earlier titles by this author (City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek.) Whilst still firmly within the remit of Sci-Fi, it's perhaps more Spy Fiction with a touch of mastery backed up with a whole host of spores and Fungi's. Whilst I did find certain parts implausible, Vandermeer's writing style gets under the readers skin and gets them to read just a few more pages. It's Dark, has interesting characters and you know that there are no other authors quite like him.

Add to the mix a huge supporting cast who add more flavour to the plot alongside an almost photogenic writing style and it's a tale that will keep you up long after you really should be asleep. Watch out for Finch, don't open the cover or the Vandermeer spore will root and hold onto you forever.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 75 reviews
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
I started at the end, as usual... 23 Sept. 2009
By Ulalume Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My only exposure to Jeff Vandermeer prior to this, was reading Steampunk, which was this volume of works he edited with his wife. Ann. I really enjoyed that book. I thought the idea of Ambergris intriguing. I didn't know I was beginning at the end, which isn't the author's fault or mine. I dived into it, though, so I will read this first and then go back to the other books.

I was expecting a straight steampunk sort of novel with noir like detective elements, but this is much more than that. The fantasy elements, even the dark or grotesque ones, are beautiful. From page one, I was sucked in, a now fan of those books which are cut into "day" chapters. He has a very good use of vocabulary especially describing color and locations, it reminds me of Romantic Poets, yet this isn't a poem by far. The mixture is fantastic. It's gritty and violent, yet highly lovely in spirt, the only thing I could say even comes close to it that I have read, and I don't read a lot of fiction, is Nick Cave's And the Ass Saw the Angel. The two books are completely different in plot but share the same gorgeous intensity in their gothic imagery and dark joys. It's so rhythmic in nature, I can believe the music cited at the end inspired in and why he would want to make a soundtrack to go along with the book.

The story is a mix of so many things, horror, pulp detective stories, gothic literature, poetry, magic, who-done-its, I could list a bunch of movies and books I have read that would be the fingers and eyelashes of this work. It's good for the detective story read, good for the fantasy reader, hopefully good for the goths and steampunks too, though I am sure there might be debate over that. I am smitten by the lure of Ambergris, so I will be walking backwards and reading the rest. I would tell you my opinion of the plot, but the press that made the book, expresses their opinion that spoilers should be kept to the bare minimum, so I am respecting that. I can say that I don't read a lot of fiction because I rarely get sucked into a world, but this world of Ambergris is unique and gruesomely addictive.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Difficult Beginning, Good After That 11 Nov. 2009
By ephemeral - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jeff Vandermeer's Finch is an interesting mixture of genres, encompassing noir, science fiction, and philosophy. The novel follows detective John Finch as he tries to solve a double murder- one human and one of the fungus-creature graycaps that rule the city of Ambergris are found dead in an otherwise empty apartment. With few resources, a partner who is quickly succumbing to a terrible disease, a lover who may or may not be his enemy, and a boss who is demanding answers immediately, Finch is forced to take actions that could prove deadly.

I didn't immediately like this book. I found the beginning somewhat muddled and had difficulty following what was going on. The author chose to place most of the description of his fantastical city of Ambergris and its history in the middle and end of the book. For me that meant it was a struggle to read the first quarter of the book or so, but after that things became increasingly clear, and I was able to focus more on the characters and their problems. I know that the author has written at least two other books in this world, but since they are supposed to be stand-alones, I thought I'd forge ahead without having read them. It's definitely possible that I would have had a more enjoyable reading experience had I done that.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Return To Ambergris And The City's Strange, Flowering Fungi 3 Nov. 2009
By Schtinky - Published on Amazon.com
Back to the timeless city of Ambergris, from VanderMeer's 'City Of Saints And Madmen' and 'Shriek: An Afterward'. Ambergris has changed a great deal over the last century. The once mysterious and quiet Gray Caps (Mushroom People) have risen from their Underground to take over the city, overpower the reigning corporate-based rulership, and now runs the city with the help of fungi based weapons, and towering purple mushrooms which disperse addictive drugs to the human population.

John Finch, not his real name, is a detective put on the case of two bodies lying dead in a tenement room. Both he and his partner Wyte, who is contaminated with fungal growth, are puzzled over the mysterious way the deaths occurred, and that one victim is human and the other a Gray Cap. They are watched over by the Partials, humans who have given themselves over to the Gray Caps and allowed fungal and other alterations to their bodies. Finch must eat the "memory bulbs" harvested from the dead, to discover the reason for their murder.

The Gray Caps, while ruling the city, are focused on building two towers, the function of which is unknown and mystifying. It seems the city falls deeper into decay the further along the towers rise. Finch finds himself deep in a complex web of fabrications and suspicion over the murder; a murder that ties in such anomalous characters as the Lady In Blue, Ethan Bliss, the dangerous Stark, Finch's neighbor Rathven, and his Gray Cap boss Heretic. Could there even be a tie to Ambergris historian Duncan Shriek, who disappeared a century ago?

Ambergris has a history: First, The Silence, discussed in VanderMeer's first Ambergris story 'City Of Saints And Madmen'; then The War Of The Houses, discussed in VanderMeer's second Ambergris novel 'Shriek: An Afterward'; and now in 'Finch' comes The Rising. Not only have the Gray Caps risen to take over the city, but the waters have risen too; where there was city and canals now lies a vast bay - Ambergris is shrinking.

There's a lot more, well, fungi, in this third trip through Ambergris. More spores, more infestation, more ruination, more rot, more types of fruiting bodies, and large tree-sized mushrooms that dispense purple spores that people wait for because the spores are the new drug of choice.

There's always been something attractive to me about fungi and fruiting bodies - they're peculiar and rather disgusting. They give me a creepy feeling, and when confronted with one in the wild I cannot stop myself from plucking it and handling it, turning it this way and that to study it, then scrubbing my hands as hard as I can to rid myself of the real (or imaginary)) slime and spores left behind.

I'm a little disappointed in The Rising depicted in 'Finch'. Part of what lured me to Ambergris was the mystery of the Gray Caps; now much of that mystery has been revealed, lessening the tension I felt reading the other Ambergris books. VanderMeer also changed his style a bit, using uncharacteristically short, stilted sentences rather than the flowing prose of the past two Ambergris novels. This works though, because 'Finch' is a rawer Ambergris, an Ambergris in more upset and peril than ever before. Can it be saved?

I highly recommend reading 'City Of Saints And Madmen' and 'Shriek: An Afterward' before 'Finch', even though 'Finch' can stand on it's own. Immerse yourself in the poetic history of Ambergris, and don't miss out on a moment of it. Enjoy!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A tough slog for a newbie 11 Jan. 2011
By Scott Schiefelbein - Published on Amazon.com
Unlike many of the reviewers here, I am a newbie to the "steampunk" genre, whatever that may be . . . the oft-helpful Wikipedia provides that the subgenre features steampower technology and has Victorian England references. But I enjoy hard-boiled detective stories (James Ellroy rocks!), so upon the recommendation of a friend I grabbed a copy of "Finch," not really knowing what to expect.

Expectations would have served me little, as "Finch" is a completely original tale for me. Our anti-hero, Finch, plays detective in the fantastical city of Ambergris. Once torn apart by a human civil war, the city creaks along under the fungal Gestapo, the Gray Caps. These fungus-based creatures have murdered half the city and keep the survivors under a brutal thumb where even the most innocuous statement can be your last. The city rots under layers upon layers of fungus, and two terrifying fungal towers grow in the midst of the city but for an uncertain purpose.

All that is to the good, but "Finch" confuses as much as it entertains. Jeff Vandermeer is not a writer who holds your hand - he drops the reader pell-mell into the middle of a perplexing murder investigation as well as a deep, rich culture with its own history and legends. It's not until the middle third of the book that he bothers to explain half of what is going on. Perhaps I'm too conventional a reader, but I found the first batch of the book so wearying that I almost put it down three or four times. Eventually I got past the seemingly disjointed and the definitely unexplained to where the parts began to come together into a whole. Sometimes that happens and the result of all the threads coming together is absolute perfection (Robert Littell's "The Sisters," for example). With "Finch," despite some exhilirating revelations and unexpected twists, the perplexing journey undermined the enjoyment of the whole.

Sometimes we can revel in a despicable location - I would never want to live in Cormac McCarthy's bloodthirsty wild west, but I love visiting it in his books. Ambergris, a noble city, remains an abject horror of fungus, living transmission tubes, and mushrooms that dispense fungal crack. An unsettled and unsettling nightmare of a city, Ambergris steals the show from its human and fungal (and human/fungal) inhabitants.

One should probably read "Finch" after reading VanderMeer's other Ambergris novels - any hint as to what the heck is going on would have been helpful during those opening chapters.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Unique and engrossing. 5 Oct. 2009
By Bazuro - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow. This book was quite different from any other I've read. There are plenty of sci-fi or fantasy books in which the author leaves a frustrating majority of the backstory unexplained, where you're expected to just piece together an understanding of the author's world. Finch is ALMOST that, but not quite.

Your understanding grows as the story progresses, and this is what the author intends. 'Finch' is a sort of noir/mystery, only set in a fictional world, so the struggle to understand Finch's world contributes to the overall mood the author wants to convey.

Finch's world seems limited to the once-glorious city of Ambergris, which has now fallen into ruin under the rule of the mysterious 'gray caps' -- an inhuman fungus-based race with advanced technology and a disregard for human life. Confined to living underground & in relative obscurity for centuries, the gray caps apparently 'rose' in Ambergris' recent past, overthrowing an establishment already in shambles after decades of civil war and plunging its human denizens into squalor and forced labor.

Finch works as a detective for the gray caps, helping them piece together the various crimes -- both petty and heinous -- occuring in his area of Ambergris. He works, then, for the enemy... for the very race that's destroyed his city and way of life. Why? Finch's motivations, as well as his mysterious past, slowly come to light throughout the story.

The story itself begins with the discovery of two bodies, victims of a very unlikely and inexplicable 'murder' -- an unknown human and the top half of a gray cap. Finch's gray cap superiors seem strangely eager to solve the case, and Finch himself gets drawn deeper and deeper into Ambergris' underworld; spies from other cities/nations, the anti-gray cap 'rebellion', remnants of the warring houses of F&L and H&S who once battled for control of Ambergris and surrounding territory (but whose conflict has now been rendered moot in the wake of the gray cap takeover), Finch's own mysterious past.

All the while, a sense of quiet despair and entropy loom over the city and the people living there. Fungus and spores are constantly devouring the city's architectre, replacing familiar landmarks with horrifying alien structures. Giant mushroom trees disperse nourishment for poor citizens; the sustencance is also hallucinogenic, meaning much of the remaining populace wastes away in a drug-induced alternate reality.

Finch's own friend Whyte struggles with a hostile fungal invasion. His body changes from moment to moment as the infection works to transform him into something Other. Everywhere Finch goes there's evidence of the city's ruination and the claustrophobic sense that a way of life is disappearing and being replaced by something totally alien.

A little research revealed that this is actually the third stand-alone book in the Ambergris universe. From what I can gather, the stories span centuries of Ambergrisian history.

The scope of this story is fairly limited, relatively speaking -- that is, the world in which Finch & Ambergris reside is LARGE. There's a whole world out there of nations all vying with one another for power. There are centuries of history.

Finch, though, is just a man. He's stuck in the hellish reality of present-day Ambergris and it's all he can do to survive and do his job. The events in which he becomes entangled really are larger than a single protagonist, and it's this conflict between Finch's limited narration and hints of something larger going on behind the scenes that really drives the story.

This books may not be for everyone -- it's got adult themes, a dark, grim, and gritty tone, etc. -- but it's definitely a supremely creative and well-conceived story, set in a world that, for all its alienness and horror, is vivid and fresh. I definitely recommend it.
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