Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blogging for Books, J

J by Howard Jacobsen

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this book, ruminating on this literary take on dystopia.

First, I must say that Mr. Jacobsen’s use of language is deft. There is a gentleness and lyricism to his use of words that is almost tender, father-like. It makes a lovely counterpoint to seriousness and violence of story, underscoring its importance.

Both main characters, Ailinn and Kevern, were delights. Their love story was beautiful, even though it is clear early in the novel that both characters are destined for unhappiness because of their own personalities and the government’s interference.

Despite the many wonderful aspects of the novel, there were times when the pacing lapsed, particularly during the trip to Necropolis, and I had to force myself to continue reading the story. Thankfully, the pace did pick up again.

In the end, the story is a philosophical exploration of identity, hate, and history. In considering how these issues affect Kevern’s and Ailinn’s final decisions, it is difficult to come away with concrete answers. But I suspect that the most any author can hope for is that his or her readers ask the right questions.

N.B. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.