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12:35pm on Monday, 19th May, 2008:

Song sung


After dithering for a few days, I finished The Inkeeper's Song over the weekend. I don't really know what to make of it.

Its chapters are presented from the point of view of a fixed set of characters, with no two being by the same character; this is a bit like one of my own novels but (unlike my approach) it has very little plot threading, which was a surprise. It has multiple stories interwoven — basically reflecting on different kinds of love — but there isn't really anything that, in a movie, could be done split-screen. This seems to suggest that the multiple viewpoints are a subtext device, and as such they work, but they serve to bring the subtext to the foreground; it's the main (action) plot that seems to recede. The end, which has a deus ex machina feel to it, is almost incidental and is heavily laden with allegory. It felt quite Chekhovian at times in its backgrounding of the plot, but it wasn't a mood piece.

All in all, it was ... different. I admired the craftsmanship, but wasn't enamoured of the way things played out with the relationships, so the story itself wasn't satisfying. Nevertheless, I'll be recommending this one to my wife, unlike Banewreaker.

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).