Where to begin with this one? I’ve seen people refer to this as absurdist. And it is absurd in the Merriam Webster sense: illogical and ridiculous. But in philosophical terms, the absurd is the conflict that arises between trying to find meaning in life and not finding any. I don’t really think that’s what’s going on here.
Perhaps one could argue that the relationship between Samantha and Professor Harrington satisfies the philosophical requirements for absurdism — Harrington seeks meaning through someone to love, a daughter. And maybe Samantha fills this role for him, but the unfortunate circumstances that follow their meeting cancels out their finding each other in the first place. I dunno.
That said, while I was reading this I could not get Salvador Dali and Magritte out of my head. The surreal imagery and schizophrenic dialogue of the gods in this book made me picture melting clocks, desert landscapes, and apple faces.
I didn’t like it. A surrealist painting is one thing. It’s still, and the mind has time to take in and parse out its various elements, but this book was chaotic and decidedly lacking in terms of a plot. A group of gods is playing cards in the in-between and suddenly they’re pulled down onto some sort of earth-like terrain except the rules are wonky. They end up at a college, with a museum full of dormant gods. There’s a necromancy department on the campus, and it is apparently possible to resurrect dead things. But the dialogue is very difficult to follow, and for the first 50% of the book I was wondering what the point was.
The only reason I’m giving this three coffee cups is because many of the lines were indeed quite funny. Simon has a wonderfully ridiculous sense of humor. The problem is there is no restraint. Witticisms are only effective when used sparingly. Otherwise, the writing comes across with an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink affect. For a better idea of what I was thinking and feeling while reading this, check out my updates.
This book isn’t my taste, but I would encourage you to read some other reviews on Goodreads or elsewhere because many people really enjoyed it.
I received this novel in exchange for an honest review.