07 January 2014

Creative Chaos of the Fictional Variety

Interestingly enough, while I was reading Seven Life Lessons of Chaos, I was simultaneously reading Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker. It's a book that I probably wouldn't have stumbled upon, but for an imaginary friend whose review so intrigued me that I put it on my list. And, probably because I was primed for chaos and fractals, I found myself sticking yet more post-its in a library book, harnessing the synchronicity:

I had not considered the idea; rather than seeking to rule out variations in quality, accept and adopt the reality of imperfection. A very powerful model indeed.

The book is throughly enjoyable - a war story, a spy story, a clockmaker and gangster and dictator story, complete with two time periods and mechanical bees.

The saddle of the bee comes away, wings and all, revealing an inner cavity. Even through the loupe, he can barely make out the parts. Cogs, yes. Springs. Everything spiraling downward, inward, smaller and smaller and smaller, each layer geared to take instruction from the one below in a repeating pattern. Cellular clockwork. Fractal clockwork?

The main character is a Spork, another character has a collection of false teeth.

"I've brought my most alarming teeth!"

And indeed, she has, a steel set made in 1919 for an American prospector who like to chew rocks and taste the precious ores.

It's a delicious fantastical yarn. Great exotic characters, a steampunk bent, and a more or less incomprehensible 'machine' at the core. Suspenseful, bizarre, funny, and totally enjoyable. It's not what I usually read, but I loved it.


Anonymous said...

I'm excited! This is the first book I've borrowed from the public library on my kindle. !!

Jeanne said...

I'm so glad you liked it! There's something fascinating about the unlikely way these plot elements come together.

Jeanne said...
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S said...

Interesting review.