Wednesday 21 March 2012

The Scotsman Abroad | Up, Angelmaker, And Away!

Today, for the first time, and perhaps the last time, your Scotsman's abroad in both senses of the phrase: at this very second I'm in an airplane, jetting off to international pastures, if not arrived upon them already, and popping Reese's Pieces.

Not only, but also, have published a review I wrote a little in advance of my departure, and it just so happens to be of one of the best books I've read all year. The only other novel of 2012 to date that even comes close to rivaling my time spent with the new Nick Harkaway was The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan, which I'm afraid we'll have to wait till the other end of my long holiday to talk about at any length.

But back to Angelmaker. It's baffling. It's bold. It's brilliant:
It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why Angelmaker is one of the year’s best books, but then, it’s hard to put your finger on much of anything in Angelmaker, because it’s always in flux. One moment it’s an animated urban fantasy, the next nostalgic sci-fi with geriatric spies, and it’s no slouch in the between times either. Angelmaker takes in biting black comedy, heart-warming romance, some light crime monkeyshines, an incisive commentary on the state of play of people in power and power in people – in government around the world, if particularly in Britain – and so very much more that I’d have to be "mad as a shaved cat" to even attempt an account of it all.

So quantity, yes, and in every sense: in character as well as narrative, in wit and impact and ambition. But also quality. As one right-thinking English critic asserted, The Gone-Away World was "a bubbling cosmic stew of a book, written with such exuberant imagination that you are left breathless by its sheer ingenuity," but for all its wonders, Nick Harkaway’s extraordinary debut was not without its issues in addition – foremost amongst them its madcap, almost abstract construction, which too often left one wondering what in The Gone-Away World was going on, even as it was going, going, gone.

Angelmaker, however, is a book far better put than its predecessor. A markedly more crafted artifact. Though the author’s roving eye remains intact, and those subjects its alights upon feel as delightful and insightful as ever, Harkaway has honed this incomparable trick of his to a filigree so fine that it appears nearly invisible; a filament of woven gold – impossible, yet a fact for all that – which runs through Angelmaker from the fanciful first to the beloved last.

Please do follow the link through to to read the rest of the piece.

And then, if you haven't already, buy this book! Because it's exactly that awesome.

Wish me a happy landing! :/

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