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17001Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    Sep 25, 2006
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: emerdavid@...
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sun, 24 Sep 2006 3:03 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Paul Park


      > It's not a fast-paced read...

      I don't need every book I read to be the kind I can't put down, but at the very
      least I need for there to be enough happening for me to want to pick it back up
      again later. I found myself very bored with the slow pace, and wishing I could
      have been his editor so I could have told him, "Leave this out, skip this,
      condense this, go away and don't come back until you can fit it all in one
      book."
      <<
      Well, different readers have different expectations, and there may be something about an individual
      reader's initial response to a book that will create expectations inappropriate to the kind of book it
      is. In my case, I was intrigued by the story right from the beginning, so I had no trouble being drawn
      into it, and I actually enjoyed the slow place because it prolonged the many mysteries of the plot,
      while constantly providing new material to consider.

      <<>...Park, while not very prolific, is one of the
      >foremost stylists in sf & fantasy to emerge in the last decade or so.

      What about his writing makes you consider him so? I didn't see anything out of
      the ordinary in his prose style, so are you talking about characters and plot?
      Or something else I'm missing?>>
      Park's writing is economical but very precise: he has a good sense of the _mot juste_. The style manages to
      be
      concise and rich at the same time (no *padding* there at all, unlike most commercial fantasy).
      And careful use of language, of course, enhances characterisation
      and plot. Both, in this book, are very complex. I enjoyed the way he foreshadows coming developments in
      subtle ways, and the way every layer of complexity that is explained reveals another layer beneath it that
      is just as complex and mysterious.

      <<> I thought the world-building
      >was superior (an alternate-history leading to a world much like ours on the
      surface, yet startingly
      >different in some unexpected ways).I also liked the fascinatingly complex
      villains, who have weaknesses with
      >which one can almost sympathise.

      I agree with both of those points. His setting up our world to be an invention
      of the other world was definitely not a cliche. And I appreciated his showing
      the antagonists (one can't really call them villains) as having complex emotions
      about their own actions.>>
      I think "villains" is the appropriate word for them because, even though they have complex motivations and
      serious doubts about their actions, their actual decisions strongly tend to be evil.
      One should point out that there's also a genuine mythopoeic dimension to Park's story, as well as
      a serious consideration of moral and spiritual issues that is quite Inklings-like. The subcreation of our
      world by the other world places an evident moral burden on those responsible for it. Park is also very
      good at showing how the practice of magic can be exhilarating and spiritually dangerous at the same time.
      I thought the episodes set in the Land of the Dead were quite moving. It may also become significant to
      the plot that the heroine's family is one of the few influential Christian families in the other world
      (where Christianity never achieved dominant status).
      Alexei

      emerdavid

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