3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Linked stories rather than a novel,
This review is from: Pavane (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I wanted to like this. It has been compared to Philip K Dick's Man in the High Castle, but really the two are poles apart. Firstly, this does not read like a novel, and is actually a series of stories set against the 'alternate history' backdrop. There is sometimes only a tenuous link between the stories, but this in itself doesn't spoil the book. There are some intriguing characters, plots and ideas in here, but you have to plough through some dense, detailed, intricate and sometimes obscure prose to find them. Sometimes it was worth the effort, but often it wasn't; the first twenty pages or so were a real hard slog. There really was no need for all the detail about steam engines. I get it - there hasn't been any technological development. No need to beat me over the head with this idea.
At the same time, I did find the overall message, if there was one, a little obscure and hard to follow. There is a prologue, which I found quite incomprehensible in the light of what followed, and a coda, which left me bemused. It was an attempt to draw the themes together, I guess, but the writing itself needed to be far clearer than it actually was. It was a frustrating read that was not, ultimately, all that rewarding. It is certainly intriguing, if you've got the stamina to stay with it, but a long way from being a classic.