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Touch – tekijä: Claire North
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Touch (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2015; vuoden 2015 painos)

– tekijä: Claire North

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5184736,059 (3.7)55
He tried to take my life. Instead I took his. It was a long time ago. I remember it was dark, and I didn't see my killer until it was too late. As I died, my hand touched his. That's when the first switch took place. Suddenly, I was looking through the eyes of my killer, and I was watching myself die. Now switching is easy. I can jump from body to body, have any life, be anyone. Some people touch lives. Others take them. I do both.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:hexhouse
Teoksen nimi:Touch
Kirjailijat:Claire North
Info:New York, NY : Redhook, 2015.
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:SF

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Touch (tekijä: Claire North) (2015)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 47) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I have enormous respect for Claire North's writing. She has fascinating ideas, beautiful prose, poignant characterisations, a lively yet literary style, and keen observations on society/humanity.

However, I didn't love this novel as I hoped I would. I started off thinking it would be a 4 star rating, then a 5 star, but at some point my satisfaction dropped sharply, especially towards the end, and I am concluding on a 3 star review.

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD, read at your own risk.



###


The novel is about an entity, mostly referred to as Kepler, who was born a human but--upon their death, many centuries ago--discovered that they were able to inhabit the bodies of other humans. While in possession of another person's body, Kepler's hosts have no memory or sense of the passage of time. They lose seconds, minutes, years of their lives--however long they are inhabited by a "ghost" entity. TOUCH makes use of a dual timeline narrative structure, flipping between past events that Kepler has lived, and present-day troubles which expand on the plot.

###

Things I enjoyed:

The set up is fascinating and daunting in its ambition, with scope for a host of exploration. The prose runs smooth and clean and the execution of body-hopping is brilliantly done; North captures the exhilaration and ennui of a free-wheeling spirit, taking advantage to explore the circumstances Kepler can exploit.

The novel's strength lay in North's amazing ability to infuse Kepler with the personalities of those they inhabited while keeping Kepler's unique self intact in each one: a brilliant fusion of psyches, and a fascinating--if somewhat understated--examination of how our physical form manifests, interacts with, and reshapes our psychology. Questions of gender, identity, sexuality, and personality are all present, deftly examined with a surgical level of skill.

###

Things I found lacking:

The MC has a motivation problem, imo. North sort of addresses this by building up how much ghosts care for the skins they inhabit, or at least can do in some cases, but when that is more or less the sum total of the MC's motivation for most of the book it starts to stretch a little thin. Kepler is quite right to point out that they could simply abscond into the night, or run. Or any number of options. It did mostly work but felt forced at points, and because the motivations of the other ghosts felt likewise thin, the whole driving force of the narrative was a little anemic.

At the heart of this issue with MC motivation is (again, imo) a power imbalance in the worldbuilding. Kepler is just too strong for anything to be much of a threat, so threats and emotional obstacles have to be generated in a way that feels slightly forced.

Kepler's relative strength in worldbuilding terms means that no human antagonist is ever going to be much of a threat. Therefore, I was unsurprised to find another ghost-entity in the antagonist's driving seat--and unfortunately, of all the characters in the novel, Galileo felt the least real. Kepler, despite his insubstantial nature, felt very real and very visceral, even when inhabiting other bodies. Galileo did not. Antagonists don't always have to be compelling, but it stood out to me in a book where almost everyone--including brief snapshots of myriad random passerbys--were otherweise so well drawn.

Going back to the power balance issue, I think if any of Galileo's plans had born fruit, a better-detailed human antagonist could have worked. For example, if someone really had developed a vaccine against ghosts, or figured out how to reliably create more, then Kepler really could have been in trouble.

As it was, the interpersonal drama between Kepler and Coyle (a human character) felt much more at the forefront, whereas the stuff with Galileo receded almost to the background at times, or at least felt that way because of lackluster stakes (and the lackluster stakes themselves being the result of sketchy character motivations. And novels need stakes!!)

All that to say, the final confrontation lacked punch. I didn't care much for Galileo, and there were very few surprises in the present-day timeline (almost all of the reveals occurred in the past-timeline). The final fight seemed extraordinarily drawn out, again with no surprises for the ending, and more weak character motivations that were seemingly dredged up at the last-minute to complicate an otherwise straightforward situation.


###

TLDR: I do still think the novel was worth reading and very enjoyable but I found myself frustrated by structural/craft issues at a number of crucial moments.

In the final analysis, it felt like a worse version of 15 Lives of Harry August, in that it contained similar themes and a similarish type character/plot set up, but was overall far weaker in execution, although much faster paced. ( )
  Sunyidean | Sep 7, 2021 |
If you saw the movie Fallen, the premise of touch may be familiar -- a special being that can transfer to another body and effectively "take control" of it. Where this story differs from the thriller, is that it focuses on many people with this ability and how they cope and adapt. I loved how this story went into the real world implications of this concept. How could you grow old in someone elses body, denying them life? If you have no conscience that's one thing, but for good people this ability sounds more like a curse.

Where it fell short for me was a connection with the characters. With Claire Norths other book,The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, I was constantly worrying about what would happen, and feeling for the characters. In this one I didn't have the same connection. An interesting topic, and well explored but the connection with the characters left me feeling like something was missing. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
Engrossing and imaginative. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
You are a woman on a train. Now a customs official at a border. Now an elderly man hailing a taxi. When all it takes is the barest of touches, skin to skin, for you to move from one host to another, you are, effectively, anyone you want to be. And no-one. Still, it’s a life. Or even if it isn’t a life as such, it’s a kind of life-in-motion. With the right host, ideally a willing host, you can live well for extended periods, though, of course, when you depart your host continues on from the very moment you came onboard, with the accompanying loss of memory for the time they were not, so to be speak, at the helm. When Kepler — Kepler is not necessarily its true name, but it is the name that other people call him/her/it — is targeted for assassination and his host is murdered, he/she/it decides not to merely flee through the crowded train station in Istanbul but rather to turn and face her would-be murderer and, at a touch, become him. This sets in motion an extended chase across borders and bodies as Kepler and his sometime associates desperately seek to find who is behind their (because he’s not the only one of his kind who has been marked for elimination) demise. His only clue is the name, “Galileo,” but who or what is that?

Claire North’s high-concept thriller sets its initial conditions quickly and efficiently and then takes its reader on fast-paced ride. It is so well-crafted that you almost fail to notice the remarkable study of identity at work here. For what would count as identity in such a situation? It’s a fascinating question and not one to which there is any simple answer. And maybe, for purposes of a genre novel, it doesn’t really matter. But I suspect it is the opportunity of playing with such philosophical possibilities that drives North’s output. If so, she is doubly lucky as a writer.

Easy to recommend for a thrilling and thoughtful reading adventure. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Oct 26, 2020 |
Another great idea for a story, but overly long in my view. Harry August was far better, but I will read Ms Norths other works purely because of her fresh ideas. ( )
  CliveUK | Sep 20, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 47) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

-

He tried to take my life. Instead I took his. It was a long time ago. I remember it was dark, and I didn't see my killer until it was too late. As I died, my hand touched his. That's when the first switch took place. Suddenly, I was looking through the eyes of my killer, and I was watching myself die. Now switching is easy. I can jump from body to body, have any life, be anyone. Some people touch lives. Others take them. I do both.

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