In the past two weeks I’ve either read or re-read a dozen Women’s Fiction novels. Some good, some bad. All pretty predictable–which is why I think those of us who read them do read them. We like the comfortable sameness and the home-cooking feel.
I was in the mood for something different and decided I’d dive into Neal Stephenson’s Anathem.
I cannot state strongly enough how much I am in love with this book. I could live inside this book, wrap myself up in the linguistic tapestry and dance to the music of the philosophical dialogs that are laced through the book like lashings of cream. I said someplace, maybe Facebook, that I feel as though this book were written for me and according to specifications I had sent to some Book Generating Device in the sky.
I don’t know how to tell you what it’s about without giving away key parts of the story OR failing to convey just how special a book this is.
The most basic explanation is that it is a story set in a society where science has become a sort of religion. The central figure is a monk, but in this world the Monasteries are called Maths and the Monks are philosophers, astronomers and scientists. The book opens on the eve of Apert–the first time in 10 years our hero has left the Math–and unfolds from there. And refolds and refolds until you’ve got an origami depiction of such perfection that it’s hard for me to express just how fantastic it is.
Now I know that a lot of folks have disagreed, finding it dull or pedantic. I understand, and that’s okay for them. For me, however, this is as perfect as a book can get. I’m only sorry it’s over.