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Shriek: An Afterword – tekijä: Jeff…
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Shriek: An Afterword (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2006; vuoden 2007 painos)

– tekijä: Jeff VanderMeer

Sarjat: Ambergris (2)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
6763026,438 (4.13)48
Janice Shriek, ex-society figure, narrates this tale with flamboyant intensity and under increasingly urgent conditions. We follow the adventures of her brother Duncan, an historian obsessed with a doomed love affair, and learn of a secret that may kill or transform him. We witness a war between rival publishing houses that will change Ambergris forever. And we're introduced to the gray caps, a marginalized people armed with advanced fungal technologies, who've been waiting underground for their chance to mould the future of the city. Shriek: An Afterword is an epic yet personal look at life, love and death in the vividly imagined city of Ambergris. And, through this tumultuous story of the family Shriek, the author shows his genius at capturing and displaying the bizarre.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:joshua.denby
Teoksen nimi:Shriek: An Afterword
Kirjailijat:Jeff VanderMeer
Info:Tor Books (2007), Paperback, 352 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Shriek: An Afterword (tekijä: Jeff VanderMeer) (2006)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 30) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Read. ( )
  sasameyuki | Oct 15, 2021 |
He said: "A machine. A glass. A mirror. A broken machine. A cracked glass. A shattered mirror." I remember now the way he used the phrases at his disposal. Clean, fine cuts. Great, slashing cuts. Fractures in the word and the world.

"Some things should not be articulated. Some words should never be used in exact combination with other words." My father said that once, while reading a scathing negative review of one of his essays. He said it with a tired little sigh, a joke at his expense. His whole body slumped from the words. Weighed down with words, like stones in his pocket.

A machine. A glass. A mirror. Duncan's journal, with the advantage of distance, described his discovery much more gracefully...


Let's start with some [a:George Orwell|3706|George Orwell|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1374989696p2/3706.jpg], shall we?

Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.

This is, appropriately enough, the opening of a rather savage critique of [b:The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí|91724|The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí|Salvador Dalí|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328868326s/91724.jpg|636832], worth reading in its own right just for sentences like "Dali is even by his own diagnosis narcissistic, and his autobiography is simply a strip-tease act conducted in pink limelight." (Warning for homophobia at the link, but few people do scathing like Orwell.) But I digress. And maybe it's rather pompous to pull a real world quote into the review of a fantasy book. Even though there is not a single other quote in the world that better captures this book. Not even this one:

You'll doubt me now, dear reader, even if you didn't already, even though this is all true. I doubt myself. I doubt the evidence of my eyes. Doubt was a great friend to my father. To Jonathan Shriek, it was the Great Ally. "Doubt," he would say, raising a finger, "is what will see you through. It is a great truth." Dad doubted every word he'd ever written. He told me so once, in the living room, at the end of a long, exhausting day. Every word. I thought he was joking, but now I can see that he wasn't.

Let me start over. This is a fantasy book. Some people read fantasy for escape. (Nothing wrong with that!) Most of the time, I read it for what is true. All books are ultimately constructs, all books are ultimately fictions; sometimes you can get closer to the truth by making a whole world a fiction, by constructing the whole reality from scratch. Sometimes you can see more clearly who and what we really are if the real world isn't getting in the way. The city of Ambergris (the real protagonist of this series) can tell us the truth better precisely because it is a fantasy.

We make up stories to understand ourselves and tell ourselves that they are true, when in fact they only represent an individual impression of one individual fingerprint, no matter how universal we attempt to make them.

No, that's not right either. After all, this is not just a fantasy book. It's an afterword to a fantasy history, "The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris," written by Duncan Shriek and published in [b:City of Saints and Madmen|230852|City of Saints and Madmen (Ambergris, #1)|Jeff VanderMeer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390260432s/230852.jpg|522014]. (Well, partially published, apparently.) The author of this afterword is Duncan's sister, Janice, who also wrote some art criticism of her own, "A Short Overview of The Art of Martin Lake and His Invitation to a Beheading," for the Hoegbotton Guide to Ambergris, 5th edition, snippets of which were published in "Martin Lake," also in COSAM. Except now it's not clear whether it was Janice who wrote the snippets published, or Duncan. I am only mentioning this to say 1) you should probably read COSAM before you read this book, and 2) VanderMeer is here attempting some literary derring-do: taking a rather unlikable character from the first book whose demise is already known to readers of the first book and making her the historian of the second book. Fortunately, he did not leave her on her own, and Duncan will be there to grouse at her the whole way. And she will need a lot of grousing. In ostensibly relating the story of how her brother came to write his history, she feels compelled to pour out all their failures, all their disgraces. (And still almost manages to leave out her nadir!) Can you love a snitch? Can you love an addict? Can you love a vain, self-centered, shallow and bitter woman? Can you love a teacher who seduces a student? Can you love an innocent who becomes an unrepentant racist through sheer cowardice? (I know I'm forgetting several venial little things here, but you get the idea.) I can't say it will work for everyone, but I love them. That's the point.

Every human being is a puppet on strings, but the puppet half controls the strings, and the strings do not ascend to some anonymous Maker, but are glistening golden strands that connect one puppet to another. Each strand is sensitive to the vibrations of every other strand. Every vibration sings in not only the puppet’s heart, but in the hearts of many other puppets, so that if you listen carefully, you can hear a low hum as of many hearts singing together… When a strand snaps, when it breaks for love, or lack of love, or from hatred, or from pain…every other connected strand feels it, and every other connected heart feels it—and since every strand and every heart are, in theory, connected, even if at their most distant limits, this means the effect is universal.

Or maybe it's not. Maybe I can begin again. Janice and Duncan and their lives (and the lives they connect to) are but the window (maybe it's a door) into the end of Ambergris. Or the rebirth of Ambergris. (I'm not sure which at this point. The story is not perfectly clear.) Ambergris is a city founded on a xenocide, followed by what was assumed to be a retaliatory genocide. (The story of both can be found in Duncan's history in COSAM.) The reckoning is long overdue. But what if it isn't? What if the gray caps (I still prefer Sporn) are not after a reckoning? What if they are so Other that the inhabitants of Ambergris really can't know what they want? (And, what if many inhabitants of Ambergris don't want to know? What then?) This book will not answer any of those questions. (Maybe it will only suggest the shape of the proper questions.)

"Such a web of words, Janice. I have never used so many words. I used so many there weren't any left to write with. And yet, I still had this fear deep in my skull. I couldn't get it out." {I still can't get it out of my head, sometimes. Writing a book and going underground are so similar. That fear of the unknown never really goes away. But, after a while, it becomes a perverse comfort.}

It will begin (as I am beginning, again) to sketch the beginning of the end. I think. I'm not sure. But it seems to be in there. At the heart of this twisting story that Janice keeps starting over, keeps approaching from every different angle, spiraling in closer to a personal tragedy or triumph that seems to have no bearing on this larger story. Or maybe it does. What is truth? What is history? What is an afterword? Is it the moment when the whole thing comes together and lies glistening and golden in your mind? Or is it the getting there?

{Not that it matters to anyone anymore. History is about to catch up with us, and what I've really learned is that anything connected to the printed page becomes a kind of tombstone, marking the death of the past.}

If it's the getting there (and if you were patient enough to stick with me through my lame attempt to emulate Janice, even without Duncan's wry comments to liven the whole thing up) you might just like this book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but then this sort of spiraling, asymptotic approach to the truth is kind of my thing. Read [b:City of Saints and Madmen|230852|City of Saints and Madmen (Ambergris, #1)|Jeff VanderMeer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390260432s/230852.jpg|522014] first. If you like that one, read this. It is a very different book, but you will be coming home to Ambergris and that will be good. (Ambergris will be eating some people you will probably like by the time they are eaten, but you knew that, right?) As for me, I will be reading the next book in the series, [b:Finch|6582496|Finch (Ambergris, #3)|Jeff VanderMeer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388254308s/6582496.jpg|6775967], very soon.

Bonus content:
Shriek the Novel: official site with excerpts, interviews, alternate versions of certain chapters, and links to Shriek the Movie. ( )
  amyotheramy | May 11, 2021 |
First: If you want to read this book and have not yet read City of Saints and Madmen do yourself a huge favor and dont read Shriek or Finch, the other Ambergris book, until you read the first in the series City of Saints and Madmen.

Having said this City of Saints is the entry point to either Shriek or Finch. You can read either after City of Saints but the order that makes the most sense is City of Saints, then Shriek, then Finch.

All of this out of the way Shriek is set in the fantasy world where a city called Ambergris exists and is undermined by a class of (nefarious?) fungi people the Grey Caps. The story centers around Janice and Duncan Shriek, siblings, and plays on sibling rivalry and expands on the strange history and culture and mythology of the city established in City of Saints. What is expanded upon here from CIty of Saints is the Grey Caps relationship to the Shrieks and how their lives entangle with the fungal world below Ambergris. Themes of love and loss and transformation and war and brutality and art and the other-ness of the fungal world of the Grey Caps is explored with prose that is achingly weird and beautiful all at once.

If you read CIty of Saints you will be properly prepped to stick with Shriek and you will be curious to dig into Finch. All are rewarding reads that illuminate, entertain, and surprise the reader with characters and situations in a city that has more to offer than any other you have ever known. ( )
  modioperandi | May 12, 2020 |
Meta work in an interesting format. It's just that it was very long and I struggled to make myself finish it. ( )
  treehorse | Nov 7, 2019 |
Jeff VanderMeer's wildly inventive new novel is the afterword to the nonexistent history of a fictional city. After completing the classic The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris, controversial historian Duncan Shriek disappeared, leaving his sister Janice Shriek to supply the much-needed afterword.

Janice Shriek's piece evolves into a memoir of the siblings: their family, their loves, and, most importantly, their failures. Banned by the Court of Kalif – this reality's Catholic Church – as heresy, Duncan's first book, On the Refraction of Light in a Prison, a critical and financial success, made him a minor celebrity. Ironically, later in life he would work as a professor for a Kalif university. Duncan's second book, Cinsorium: Dispelling the Myth of the Gray Caps, on the mysterious fungal beings living beneath Ambergris, destroyed his fledging career, furthered his notoriety, and affords the most humorous scene in this book. In a spot-on parody of the publishing world, the publisher of Duncan's previous effort berates and blames him for all the problems of the world, society, and, quite possibly, existence itself.

Duncan's relationship with the Gray Caps and his subsequent books intertwines with Janice's life, which finds her becoming a successful art gallery owner and eventually a bitter, disillusioned old woman. After Janice finished the afterword, her brother resurfaced and added his commentary to her work. The interaction between the siblings throughout grounds Shriek and elevates VanderMeer's story above the works of his contemporaries. Their relationship reads more true than many in so-called literary novels. Readers will recognize the bickering, love, and trust that could only exist between siblings.

VandeerMeer first introduced Ambergris in an intriguing series of novellas, collected as City of Saints and Madmen. Shriek: An Afterword is his first full-length novel set in the mythical city. With literary stylings, a complex plot, and ideas that lesser writers could not imagine, it further establishes him as the finest fantasist of his generation.

(This review originally appeared in The Austin Chronicle, June 30, 2006)
Link: http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/review?oid=oid:380825 ( )
1 ääni rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 30) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
VanderMeer’s previous novels are part of a fantasy sub-genre, often categorized as the New Weird. While Shriek certainly contains fantasy elements, it doesn’t fit into any strictly delineated genre. There are more ideas here than flights of fancy; VanderMeer owes more to Borges than Tolkien.
 

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Janice Shriek, ex-society figure, narrates this tale with flamboyant intensity and under increasingly urgent conditions. We follow the adventures of her brother Duncan, an historian obsessed with a doomed love affair, and learn of a secret that may kill or transform him. We witness a war between rival publishing houses that will change Ambergris forever. And we're introduced to the gray caps, a marginalized people armed with advanced fungal technologies, who've been waiting underground for their chance to mould the future of the city. Shriek: An Afterword is an epic yet personal look at life, love and death in the vividly imagined city of Ambergris. And, through this tumultuous story of the family Shriek, the author shows his genius at capturing and displaying the bizarre.

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