3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: City of Saints and Madmen (Paperback)
The City of Saints and Madmen is an impressive work - a wonderful piece of escapism which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
The legendary city of Ambergris is a timeless and fascinating place with strange recurring motifs - grey caps, mushroom dwellers, squid, a firm called Hoegbottom and sons, and various fighting factions, poets, and artists - to name just a few. As I read I became totally absorbed in this fantastical world with its own rules and surreal history. Even though I know this place does not really exist I kept believing that it does: the stories are convincing, and the characters seem real even though they cannot be. I realise now that I have finished that everything must has been worked out with an extraordinary vision because there was not a single instance where I did not believe that what was happening could have happened, somewhere far away just beyond the limit of the world I know. The most decisive and chilling aspect of the history is the Silence. This haunts the book and it haunts me still - it is the fear of the unknown, only in part ever revealed, which makes the event powerful and disturbing. I thought I could see parallels with various aspects of human history, and the Silence could even be allegorical for certain many unexplained events that have really happened - which I think is always the case in the best Sci-Fi/fantasy writing.
The story of the city gradually evolves in a series of pieces - short stories, letters, papers, even a long and entertaining bibliography - a jigsaw which gradually builds up to something complete and satisfying. It begins very well, but ends especially wonderfully with some beautifully written and gripping stories.