This book is one I hesitated to blog about simply because I’m not sure there is much of an audience for it in the American readership. Certainly if you are looking for something experimental or if you just like giving something unique a try, this is a book to consider. I personally only gave it a three star rating, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy this mix of science fiction and magical realism.
Can you imagine a future where everyone has given up sleeping?
From the creator of the television series Red Band Society and author of the international bestseller The Yellow World comes this uniquely special novel.
What if I could reveal your secrets with just a glance? And what if I could feel with your heart just by looking at you? And what if –in a single moment– I could know that we were made for each other? Marcos has just lost his mother, a famous dancer who taught him everything, and he decides that his world can never be the same without her. Just as he is about to make a radical change, a phone call turns his world upside down.
This is a strange little work of science fiction that reads like a dream – literally, it reads like a strange dream. That is rather fitting as the book opens with the main character contemplating taking an injection designed to take away the need for sleep. His mother has died and the idea of dreaming in a world without his mother is too much. Then a couple of things stop him from pushing the plunger on his dream life. He sees a girl in the plaza outside his window and his boss calls him to work because a suspected alien life form has been discovered. These two events will change his perceptions about life and death forever. Reading this book is quite a lot like watching a foreign film. The ideas and plot are going to be different from a traditional American novel. It has the magical realism that is almost entirely absent in American literature, and it takes a more open minded American reader to suspend their disbelief long enough to enjoy it. It also might make you feel dumb when you don’t “get it” or when you are afraid you didn’t “get it.” I certainly felt there were parts of the story that eluded me, but overall, I enjoyed it for its strange, dream-like situations and prose. However, I was disturbed by what I inferred about the mother/son relationship in this story, but I wasn’t really sure if I was inferring too much. I do think that some readers will be annoyed by this story and feel like it was a waste of time. If you can’t enjoy a strange foreign film, or even an American remake of one like Vanilla Sky, I think you should just skip this. If, however, you can loosen up your ideas of what a story should be or do and let the words take you to somewhere new and unexpected, you might enjoy this. While this book was listed as YA on NetGalley, I don’t think this is a YA read. The experimental feel of the style paired with the leisurely pace don’t really lend themselves to the average YA reader’s expectations. There is also a lot of thought and philosophy about sex which I didn’t really feel was appropriate for Just any teen reader. It isn’t graphic, but it is just a casual attitude towards sex that I think some parents would object to. It would certainly prompt a lot of discussion as a book club selection, though, and I think it is an interesting and thought provoking read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.