mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Bear-shirt. (11)

Shardik by Richard Adams.

I came from the Streels.
Mordicai walked out of them
& said "Well, I'm here."

I found Watership Down to be an amazing book. Tracey gave me a copy of Maia because she liked it & it influenced her character in my Oubliette game. I thought it was so-so, not terrible nor fantastic. I picked up Shardik hoping it was more of the former & less of the latter; I mean, I knew it was fantasy in the same setting as Maia but I also knew it focused on a bear cult, & I like bear cults. See, heck, two of my favorite books last year heavily involved bear cults! Unfortunately, Shardik wasn't all that I wished it would be-- it even inspired me to write a post at Kit Marlowe & Co. about when to quit reading a book. The book has its moments! I'll give it that. There are certain inventive moments, & certain descriptive flourishes (like when he describes a heart as a black cockroach on page 267) but over all...it was drudgery. The thing is, Shardik participates in a middle brow tradition-- that "Bad Thing" equate to important literature. Yawn. Even worse, to accomplish the mood of relentless trauma, Adams resorts to wild & random character swings. The protagonist switches from humble & pious to cruel & prideful just...all of a sudden. He jumps back & forth all over the emotional page, never really landing any portrayal believably. The bits when things aren't all just a barren hellish landscape I liked-- unfortunately, that is about 150 pages out of 600. I wish I had nicer things to say but the raw truth is: this book was good enough to get me to finish it-- but no better.
Tags: adams, books, haiku, kit marlowe
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