Kevin Grant wrote:
> From: Kevin Grant <034571g@...>
> Just to throw some more variety into the discussion, I'd like to hear opinions on
> Guy Gavriel Kay's latest, "Sailing to Sarantium". I've just finished Book One, and
> while I'm waiting patiently for Book Two to come out to read, I'm not entirely into
> the book. It still has its good points, but it seems to me to fall far short of the
> greatness he achieved in the Tapestry, and even in Tiganna, Song for Arbonne and The
> Lions of Al-Rassan. I thought all the previous books were excellent, and The
> Tapestry to be one of the finest pieces of literature I've ever read (so much so
> that I'd probably rank it just below Tolkien's work; and if I were less of a fan,
> then at about the same level).
> One thing that really bothered me about this new book is the language. I found it
> to be much more offensive than any of his previous books. The sexual imagery is on
> about the same level as in the others, but I'm also wondering if it is more
> gratuitous (even in his other non-Tapestry books). I could see the centrality of
> the imagery in the Tapestry, and to various extents in some of the others. I
> suppose I'm wondering if sexuality has become more of a selling strategy, or if it
> is sadly such a dominant part of society that it must be included in the literature
> of the times, or does it truly have some literary value.
> But beside that, I found that Kay used so many curse words that the story suffered
> greatly (and I also believe that the same thing, although he used less, also hurt
> his other works). He seems to spend more time throwing out curse words than
> developing the characters. None of them are as strong as the characters in his
> early works.
> So, overall, I would say this is an inferior effort for Kay. Somehow or other,
> however, he does hold my interest enough that I still plan on buying the second book
> to finish reading the story.
> Other opinions?
> Kevin Grant
Keith: This comes late according to Internet standards; sorry.
Have not read any Kay, though I have the *Fionnvarr Tapestry.* Sorry to
hear that Kay is descending to the level of using language as you
describe---seems to me that if one wants to be faithful to a fantasy
idiom that the characters would not pepper their speech with four-letter
words unless he is trying to depict a culture which has some reason for
using this kind of speech (perhaps in verbal one-upsmanship games, like
"playing the dozens," or something similar). One of the reasons I like
fantasy is because characters do not use the modern idioms as part of
their behavior. (Katherine Kurtz, good as she is, often has her
political councils engaging in too much realpolitik.) As for language,
people of the past certainly referred to and used bawdy speech (look at
certain passages of Shakespeare), but they are skillful insulters, and
can really weild a verbal rapier! ---djb