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Bloody Shambles

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Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos by John Shade
Vladimir Nabokov, Brian Boyd
Pale Fire
Vladimir Nabokov
Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind
Under Stones
Bob Franklin
The Erotic Potential of My Wife
David Foenkinos, Yasmine Gaspard
A Corner of White
Jaclyn Moriarty
Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell
Progress: 99 %
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
Neil Gaiman
The Beetle
Richard Marsh
Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith
Embassytown - China Miéville There's a lot to like about this book, particularly for those interested in linguistics, semiotics, communication and culture. Anyone who's read Ursula LeGuin will see some obvious similarities, in particular the cross-cultural focus. What also excited me no end is that the book fits my gradually expanding "Language-As-A-Virus" bookshelf...... but that's all I'll say on that point.What makes this book difficult to enjoy is the writing style. I know, right? "But it's Mieville!" I hear you cry. But it's true - the style is a little awkward and contrived. I'll give the man the benefit of the doubt and assume that Mieville does this deliberately to emphasise that this is the voice of a woman from a different culture to the reader's own, but that doesn't make it any easier to get into. I also found the way he drew attention to his own writing devices to be really.......... clunky. If you're going to abandon the dual-timeline structure you've been using so far in favour of something more linear, there's probably no need to point that out to the reader.It was interesting to see Mieville leaving out any vivid descriptions of the aliens and other various creatures. In this book he only points to various features of each, giving you a general sense of what's there, but leaving it up to the reader to piece them together. I quite liked this aspect of the book, though I couldn't say why. Afterwards, I googled fan-pics of the Ariekes, and found that the couple of pics people have posted are quite similar to what I imagined, but with a few variations from my own warped mind, which rather appeals to me..! I read part of this book while on an Aboriginal-controlled community, where a lot of non-Indigenous people (like myself) fly-in-fly-out to deliver services, many without ever really understanding the local culture. So the complex and fascinating ideas about cross-cultural understanding were particularly poignant for me. I just wished Mieville had made them more accessible. I would love to think that millions of people around the world were reading this book and understanding more about how different cultures can make sense of the same universe in utterly different ways, and how this affects all of our communication.......... but I can see that the key messages have been largely obscured by aspects such as the writing style and overly complex plot. And that is hugely disappointing to me. It is so rare to come across a writer with such an amazing grasp of how these things work. Opportunity = Wasted