I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. This is mostly be cause I do the majority of my reading while commuting. Since my office move last year I don’t have a long commute but it’s long enough to get through a few dozen pages each day and it’s a lot easier to carry around my Kindle than a book. I do have one exception though. I also like to read in the bath. And although I have seen this as an option from preventing yourself from destroying your Kindle, I am still not keen on taking it in the bath with me. Plus I have a cupboard full of books that I appropriated from various flat mates that left them behind and Mr O’s pre-Kindle collection.
Bath reading goes pretty slowly but I have managed to read some pretty awesome books in the bath including A Prayer for Owen Meany, Gone With the Wind and One Hundred Years of Solitude. My latest bath book was The Gone-Away World and I feel like I have it to blame for some seriously pruney fingers.
Set in the near future the novel follows an unnamed narrator as he tells the tale of his and his best friend, Gonzo Lubitsch’s lives. Having grown up inseparable The Narrator and Gonzo both find themselves in special branches of the military stationed in the remote nation of Addeh Katiri. Addeh Katiri has a history of conflict mostly caused by larger nations interfering in its operations and using it as a battle ground for their disagreements with each other.
When things really kick off in Addeh Katiri, The Narrator’s commanding officer deploys a weapon they’ve been working on, one that will change the world forever… one that will make life as we know it “go away”. You see the weapon has a way of taking whatever is in your head and creating things… changing things… into things that are new and terrifying. This plunges The Narrator, Gonzo and their friends into an adventure that will include pirates, mimes, ninjas and, well, giant bees.
And that’s all I want to tell you because the less you know about what’s coming in The Gone-Away World the more exciting its twisty-turny and somewhat shocking happenings will be. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s one of the most imaginative novels I have ever read and that the yarn that Nick Harkaway has spun is spell-binding. It’s part adventure, part humour, part science fiction, part social commentary and all awesome. Not only are the settings and happenings fascinating but Harkaway’s character building is exceptional. Within a couple of chapters The Narrator feels like an old friend and there is no character that isn’t developed or whose motivations feel off. I wanted to spend time with everyone he introduced and there were a lot of characters.
It is a novel I have no reservation in recommending (especially to Zoë) and one I have every intention to reread as there is so much going on that I expect that the story will only improve by spending more time with it.