Sunday, January 28, 2007

Review of “The Glamour” novel by Christopher Priest

“The Glamour” is a highly literate, post-modern take on a popular sci-fi subgenre (which won’t be spoiled here), although nearly the first third of the book is done with no overt violations of present day reality. The story follows a cameraman who is recovering his memories after a car accident with the help of a woman who claims to have been his lover. Nothing remains the way we first perceive it and each of the book’s chapters provides further insight into the truth. The reader’s ability to trust memory, identity and even the stories authorship is gradually eroded.

The Good:
Priest combines masterly story-telling with a wickedly inspired formal structure to create a novel that is both engaging and thoughtful. The perfectly paced story balances elements of normality and classical fiction prose with frequent twists and shifts that completely change the reader’s perspective on everything that has come before. Priest manages to revitalize a subgenre that has been stagnating for decades and creates what I think is easily the finest entry.

The Bad:
Confusing ending tends to work decently as a thought experiment and a thematic finale but seems unsatisfying on the level of the characters and narrative.

Grade: A

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