4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Someone please comission this guy to write more stuff!,
This review is from: Force Majeure (Paperback)
It was a drink with that Brax feller (who lives near me and is officially one of the nicest people on the internet) that reminded me to get around to buying this. We were having the usual conversation about Who novel authors, and Daniel O'Mahony's name came up as one of those who (like Dave Stone and Paul Magrs) seems almost to be in a category of his own in terms of style. There's certain groups of writers who appear to share common interests and literary themes - for example, Lawrence Miles and Simon-Bucher Jones seem related in some way (at least to me), as do er... Christopher Bulis and Paul Leonard. That said, beyond the Who enclave, his writing reminds me a little of Neil Gaiman (an influence I know), Ursula LeGuin, and maybe Octavia Butler - it has the same rich sense of imagery conveyed by text which could easily stand as poetry in its own right - not one prosaic sentence, each one seemingly the result of serious fine tuning, and yet never laboured or so overworked as to become indigestible. That said, his prose does expect a certain degree of commitment from the reader, not something conducive to skimming, but that can hardly be a bad thing.
Anyway, Force Majeure (which curiously enough opens with something unusual falling from a tree, as with Newtons Sleep) is a sort of magic realist (ish) novel set in an Andean city which, although packed with the sort of weirdness you might expect from LeGuin or Gaiman (although frankly he does it a lot better than Gaiman so far as I'm concerned), is nevertheless contemporary and thus pleasantly free of Tolkeinisms. Candida (the city) is isolated from the rest of the world, a place which tends to assimilate and hang onto any visitors who happen to end up there, and then along comes Kay, the protagonist, representing some faceless organisation with the intention of opening Candida up for tourism and the like. It's a weird partial inversion of The Prisoner, except with the main character finally coming to side with the 'village' against the forces which initially placed her there. I'm not always so great at dissecting literary themes, but there seems to be something in here about er... the weird, cranky, and insular being ultimately preferable to the square, reliable and outgoing (not the best term maybe but...). Anyway, there's a whole lot of levels here, and repeat reading is certainly rewarding (I actually read it one and a half times). For anyone who may care about such things, there may or may not be dragons, plus there's a few nicely Factiony asides - the War in Heaven board game, plus the hints that the city was founded even prior to its human inhabitants by persons who removed themselves from history (!). If you liked Newtons Sleep - you really need this book.