Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

What a hard read, until I got used to it. Very difficult on the sentence and paragraph level to figure out what was going on. Not just her prose, though that was convoluted enough, or the way her characters talked in poetry and allusions I was mostly unfamiliar with. But she showed everything, didn't tell, just gave their words and looks and none of the thought behind it. And they all spoke in abreviated form, allusions and hints and never half saying what they meant (except, perhaps, Will Scott). It's a wonder any in the story understood the conversations they found themselves taking part in; in real life they'd have been more bewildered than I, without lesiure and pages to refer back to. A very mind-consuming read.

I know I started this before, didn't think I'd gotten very far. Now I'm not sure. I kept being teased by hints of familiarity, as if I'd read it all before, but then I never knew what was coming.

Should I read the others in the series? I've no great desire to do so, somehow. Lymond tortured, outlawed, ambiguous and unpredictable, hiding from unknown crimes or errors: that was interesting, worth disentangling to find out about. Lymond reputation restored, clearly on the angel's side, in good with his family - in short, not tormented - might be less worth chasing through Dunnett''s entangled prose. But I may have a look anyhow.

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