Monday, April 30, 2012
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
This was the first book written by Harkaway that I've read. I remember seeing his other book, The Gone-Away World at a bookstore when it came out a couple of years ago--it was hard to miss with its neon pink cover, but I didn't bother buying it at the time. I'm sure I'll be reading it sooner rather than later now that I've had a taste of Harkaway's writing style and story creation.
Joe Spork is an unassuming fixer of antique clocks who may have just inadvertently doomed the entire planet. While repairing an unusual clockwork device, Joe turns it on and unknowingly releases a swarm of mechanical bees. These bees, and the device they had been stored in, had been created by a French genius during WWII with the express intention of increasing the overall level of honesty in the world by nine percent.
The story was interesting, but I think the story was just a vehicle Harkaway used to release an overload of barely-contained absurdism and a biting sense of humor. Harkaway doesn't use that sense of humor in a subtle fashion either. He repeatedly blindsides you with it and keeps you on your toes wondering what he's going to say next. The dialogue between his characters was fantastic. I repeatedly went back a page or two while reading it just because I enjoyed it so much.
Reading Angelmaker takes focus and attention. He skips back and forth in time and the subplots are a stark contrast with each other in both style and tone. So I think some people reading it will either get lost and mentally check out, or simply quit. But again, that would be due to their own shortcomings and not the book's.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆