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Palimpsest

Palimpsest


Palimpsest

valutazioni:
4/5 (48 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
11 ore
Pubblicato:
Aug 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781441870209
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse - a voyage permitted only to those who've always believed there's another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night.

To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They've each lost something important - a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life - and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.
Pubblicato:
Aug 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781441870209
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Catherynne M. Valente is the acclaimed author of The Glass Town Game, and a New York Times bestselling author of fantasy and science fiction novels, short stories, and poetry. She has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, and has won the Locus and Andre Norton award. She lives on a small island off the coast of Maine with her partner, two dogs, one enormous cat, a less enormous cat, six chickens, a red accordion, an uncompleted master’s degree, a roomful of yarn, a spinning wheel with ulterior motives, a cupboard of jam and pickles, a bookshelf full of folktales, an industrial torch, and an Oxford English Dictionary. Visit her at CatherynneMValente.com.

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Cosa pensano gli utenti di Palimpsest

3.9
48 valutazioni / 41 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    Four misfits are introduced to the fairytale city of Palimpsest, and must decide whether they are willing to pay the price to keep making the journey. This is an assault of lush prose and rich imagery, peppered with dysfunctions a-go-go, basketfuls of sex, and the odd observation about where society is going wrong. I'm not honestly sure whether I liked it, as I was mostly overwhelmed (not a book to read with a persistent migraine as it turns out). I will revisit it and revisit my rating at some point when I'm clear-headed - for now, there's things to like, lots to be uncomfortable with, and some food for thought. Mostly though, it felt like puzzling out an intensely detailed tapestry or animation - lots of little bits of stuff going on, but no space to resolve it into a coherent image.
  • (4/5)

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

    Palimpsest is a very weird book. I knew that before I started, and that was probably the reason I didn't pick it up sooner. It is a good kind of weird, but I definitely needed to be in the right state of mind to read it.It's not only weird, but complex. There are many stories interwoven in Palimpsest, far more than the back cover promises. At first I was utterly lost. Lost about what was happening in the story, where it all was supposed to go, or even if it was supposed to go anywhere.But this is the kind of book that you discover slowly. Slowly you unravel the story of each character, just as you slowly discover the city of Palimpsest and the book becomes more clearer. And this is the kind of book that needs attention while being read, every detail is important. I admit that at first I was not as attentive as I should, and I missed some things. But as I became more and more engrossed in the story, I started to see the connections and details. Even though this book is confusing at first, and it takes some time to start to understand it, it is a pleasure to read because the writing is excellent. Poetic and vivid, I could see the pictures it painted in my mind very clear; beautiful, terrifying and surreal. It was the writing that made me read on, until I started to have characters I loved, characters I liked, and characters I disliked, until the mystery city of Palimpsest was not confusing but intriguing.I enjoyed this book a lot, although I kept waiting for the ending to blow me away, it never really did. I will be re-reading it some time in the future, to pay attention to the details I missed, to the ones that only make sense once you know the ending... But that's a plan for later. For now, I can say it is a good book.Also at Spoilers and Nuts

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

    The premise: ganked from BN.com (I think): Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse--a voyage permitted only to those who've always believed there's another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They've each lost something important--a wife, a lover, a direction in life--and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.My RatingKeeper Shelf: But this is a misleading rating: I still stress that if you've never read Valente's work before, don't start with Palimpsest. Start instead with The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden, which is still beautiful (and actually, better than Palimpsest), but a little more accessible to readers who are not familiar with Valente's style. Which is lush and gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but it can be overwhelming for readers not familiar with her work (and for readers familiar with her work too, but at least if you've read her work before, you're acclimated then), so in short: start with The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden. Once you've done that and read the second volume, In the Cities of Coin and Spice, you'll really be able to appreciate how those two books influenced the style and structure of Palimpsest, which really pushes the envelope stylistically. Despite the premise, this book is not about sex, nor is it an excuse to write soft-core porn. Instead, it's a story about addiction, about people who are willing to sacrifice anything and everything to get what they want, and it just so happens that sex is the vehicle in which to do so. There is a point to this story, though it takes half the book to realize it will come together (or fall apart) based on one particular plot point, but the ride up until that point is surreal and beautiful, with the kinds of details that are wonderfully imaginative and tantalizing (the Brauria). This is no stereotypical fantasy in any shape, form, or fashion, and readers who want something different would do well to give Valente's work a shot. I still say you should start with a different book than Palimpsest, but once you're ready, Palimpsest is a beautiful book and well-worth the read. It's my pick to win the Hugos.Review style: Oh, where to begin? I want to talk about structure and patterns, poetry and its place in prose, and of course, where would be we without discussing sensual content? We'll talk about where this book ranks (if it does at all) when it comes to sex in comparisons to romance, erotica, and other types of fiction. Also, since this is the final weekend before the Hugo winner is announced, I want to talk about where this book ranked among the other nominees I've read. You may be surprised by my findings. :) No spoilers, so if you're interested in the full review at my LJ, you're welcome to it. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.REVIEW: Catherynne M. Valente's PALIMPSESTHappy Reading!

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • (4/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    I had to power through this one because it was due back at the library and I couldn't renew it because it was on hold. Not my ideal reading conditions. I think I've covered a lot of what I think in my previous updates. I quite liked this book, although it had some flaws. It also had a whole lot of unsexy sex, which maybe worked for the author because of symbolism, but seemed somewhat unnecessary to me. I really liked the story of each character, though, for the most part (maybe not Oleg's entirely), and the symbolism in each of their narratives. And of course, Valente's imagery is masterful and unique.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (2/5)

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

    Pretty! Sex! Interesting! Sex! Boring! Gruesome! Ick! - This pretty much sums up my reactions to about the first half of the book. The further I got through it, the more uncomfortable I was with the whole story. And while I liked it most of the ones nominated for a Hugo, I didn't *really* like it very much. I like my escapist fiction with a bit more escapism, and a little less dystopia. I did make myself finish it - I wanted to know how it came out, but it was very much more on the edge of drudgery than delight in the doing so.

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • (4/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    I admit it. It took me quite a while to get into this book. I'd read a bit, then put it down for days, then struggle to remember who everyone was when I picked it up again. There was just so much strangeness to this story. I didn't know what I was doing there.

    I guess it was Sei and her love of trains who I fell in love with first. Then, once I got a little footing in the story, I couldn't put it down.

    This is a very grown-up story of Fairyland, with complicated rules of who can get in and how, and even more complicated rules of appropriate behavior once you get there. There were already similarities to Valente's intermediate reader Fairyland series that I was noticing even before November revealed her connection to September from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland..., a book which wasn't to be published until two years after this one was. An interesting universe crossover.

    Looking back on the book later, I do feel like there were some holes, questions I wish had been answered in explaining the story of the city. Why Casimira... Well, a lot of things about Casimira.

    Anyway, my admiration for Valente grows. Very soon after finishing this, I went out and bought the next book in the Fairyland series for Jefferson (me).

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (2/5)
    There is a world of dreams where you can go if you have a special map shaped mark on your skin anywhere and you have sex with a similar individual. The special mark is bistowed in a group of four in a special ceremony. In the real world if you can find all four individuals you can emigrate to Palimpsest for ever.It is an interesting concept but the the book goes nowhere. 
  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Not at all an easy read but so, so beautiful. Well worth the trouble.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (4/5)

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

    My book club selection for the month.
    I'd heard Valente described as a steampunk author, but I really
    wouldn't classify this as being in that genre. I've yet to acquire her
    other books, but I'm on the lookout for them!
    Outside of our reality, there is a city called Palimpsest. Those who
    have visited the city mysteriously acquire a tattoo-like mark
    somewhere on their skin - and an inexplicable desire, almost an
    addiction, driving them to return. The only way the city can be
    entered is through sex with another traveller who bears the mark on
    their body. The travellers to the city spend their time there
    obsessively searching for a way to stay - something unknown to any
    visitor, unheard-of by the natives, but rumored to exist.
    Four people who arrived together in Palimpsest theorize that a
    permanent entrance could be found if they find each other and meet in
    the "real world," and they seek to do so...
    The book is beautifully written, but definitely disturbing and
    grotesque. Rich with details and odd obsessions, Valente captures the
    feeling of bad dreams that are not quite nightmares - those dreams
    that leave you with an unpleasant feeling for the day, but are filled
    with fascinating and out-of-place elements that one can't stop
    thinking of. The contradiction in the book is that for all its quirks
    and oddities, Palimpsest is a curiously 'empty' place, devoid of the
    richness of a real world. It is a dream. It is never fully (or, to me,
    convincingly) explained why anyone would want to go there, let alone
    stay there... but then again, I don't understand that about other
    addictions, either, and the four characters are definitely credible
    candidates for falling victim to such an escape: Oleg, an immigrant
    locksmith without social ties, obsessed with his dead sister. Ludovic:
    a bookbinder whose wife has left him because he cared for his books
    more than her. November: a beekeeper whose bees are everything to her.
    Sei: a woman from Japan who spends all her time riding trains. They
    all believe that they will find what they lack in Palimpsest...
    Not always a pleasant experience, but worth reading.

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • (2/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Wonderful fantasy imagnation butno story to speak of. Not as good as In the Night Garden

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    I've really liked Valente's prose in other books, so picking this one up for just a couple bucks was a no-brainer. It sat on a shelf for about a year while I ran through other books on my to-read list, until I finally sat down on vacation and decided it was time to enjoy the lovely words.I was... surprised. The prose is still beautiful, but there isn't much to the story. It sounds intriguing: four strangers who found their way to a fantastical city and became addicted to it and need to find their way back, except that they need to find each other in the real world first.But it's not about that, not really. It's more about the masses of casual, anonymous, and incestuous sex that these people need to have in order to get back to the city temporarily. It's about caring so little about anything but that city that the real world seems fake. Perhaps it's an accurate description of how addiction takes people hostage, though it makes many of the characters seem selfish and uncaring to me. It's hard to like characters who can literally think of nothing beyond one single desire that consumes them utterly.The story will sometimes call a character loving or giving, but that doesn't show in the text. No one does anything that doesn't advance their own cause; it just so happens that sometimes advancing their desires means helping another person with their desires.The writing is fantastical, beautiful, and so, so petty. The world didn't feel bigger after I read it. It felt smaller and crueler and even more isolated.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Wow, I think I may need to read this again to get the full effect. It is fanciful, imaginative, and a lot to take in.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    I'm not sure what to think of this book. Parts of it are grossly self-indulgent and other parts are stunningly beautiful. The emotional payoff of the ending worked for me -- embarrassingly so, even -- but the gratuitous porn didn't serve the story as much as it was meant to. The strongest parts of the book are when we see the characters invested in their relationships. Oddly, I found the sex underwritten in the midst of excessively ornate language. Interesting how she pulled that off.

    I'm also reading Robert Hass' Sun Under Wood right now and I wonder if it was an influence. The words and tone match too perfectly.

    However, the tone is a problem I have. The tone of the novel is unrelentingly exultant. It doesn't waver. It OUGHT TO waver with the horror and grief and loss the characters face, but they wave off all their troubles despite becoming indigent in their obsessions...which is an interesting and strange way to romanticize an interesting and strange, brutal and transcendent sexually transmitted disease.

    I wish this had been less extravagant and more coldly clinical in places, less blowhard and more rough scrape of reality. I mean, I still liked it all right, but in the end, four people fuck a lot and meet up in Japan. A little more substance to their lives would've made this a much more satisfying read.

    Cataloging note: I don't understand calling it "urban fantasy" even if it is about a city. It's too lush. Even its grit is lush -- far more naturalistic and wild than "urban". *ponders*

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (4/5)

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

    There's not much point in me explaining the details of this one. The scenes that Valente creates are always terrible and beautiful, but also always surreal. This is the story of a war-torn city complete with mutilated veterans, a lonely teenager, pitiful immigrants, mechanical insects, living trains, and empty children licked into being. The focus on belonging and loneliness meant a lot to me. Be prepared for lots of sex. It's a sexually transmitted city. There's only one way for visitors to get there: by being with another immigrant in need who has developed the mark of the city, a part of its street map black on their skin.I definitely recommend the author for her amazing imagination and use of language, but if you're looking for something a little easier to grasp or slightly less full of longing, try her In the Night Garden first.

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

    This was good enough, complex enough, and layered enough that it's going to take me at least a night's sleep to get to the point where I can comment sensibly on it. But I did want to firmly establish that it's wonderful.

    2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • (4/5)
    Made for a marvelous summer fever dream, but summer is over, and I'm not done and have lost my place in what was going on. Maybe next summer..
  • (4/5)
    This book is beautiful. The language of it is mesmerising and enticing and sometimes cloying, there's so much of it, it's so thick with description and invention and ideas. I remember commenting about China Miéville's work, and how the cities of his work almost seem to be characters themselves -- I can see why people compare Palimpsest to his work, although in Palimpsest it's more true than ever.

    Reading this book is like exploring the city in the same limited way as the characters. Sometimes frustratingly: there's a bit you want to see or understand or get to, but you can't, not yet. You have to give it time for it to unfold.

    I can understand why it has quite a lot of love-or-hate reactions. If you give it time, it's a beguiling, rewarding book, but if you don't have the time or the patience or the inclination, it's impenetrable.

    I didn't really feel like I got to know the characters or the city as well as I would want to. Ordinarily, that would be a major turn-off for me, but there was enough to keep me satisfied, and the writing, the richness of the detail, was enough to compensate for the lack of my usual favourites. If there's any criticism, it's that the characters didn't feel as rich and as real to me as I wanted them to -- there were enchanting details about them, but I didn't get to know them as I would like to.
  • (4/5)
    Beautiful and meandering. This is the story of a city (Palimpsest) which can only be found by those who know where it is...and you can only learn that by sleeping with someone who's been there before, and it's the story of the city's inhabitants.I found that sometimes I wanted the story to be more streamlined, but the descriptions are a lot of fun and as long as you don't mind taking a roundabout trip, the journey is fun.
  • (2/5)
    When I first read the idea behind this novel, a sexually transmitted city, I was really interested. It really is a clever premise, but for me it didn't translate into a good book. This is especially sad because I read Valente's Orphan's Tales series and loved it and her newest book, Deathless, was probably the best I have read all year, but Palimpsest just didn't do it for me. I think part of it is that the writing is TOO lyrical, yeah it sounds nice, but it seems like she took so much time on the particular words, that she missed the mark on giving the sentences meaning. My other issue was with how erotic it is. Yeah, I know that I should have been expecting it somewhat because it is about a STC but still it wasn't my cup of tea. In review, I was really disappointed, but that doesn't take away from how awesome her other books are and I would suggest skipping Palimpsest and going straight on to Deathless.**Also a lot of her unique images/characters from her other books (fiddle bow handed person, and others) are also found in this one. That was a bit disappointing.
  • (5/5)
    An absolutely astonishing book about four lost souls hunting for a sexually-transmitted city. It's erotic, haunting and poignant, and seduces the reader into a dreamlike state. On top of that, not a page goes by without the lush prose conjuring up the most amazing imagery. It certainly won't be to everyone's tastes, but I loved it.
  • (3/5)
    a fever dream of a novel. Four strangers mysteriously find their way to a very strange city, in their dreams, apparently. The city is described in delirious prose that almost feels drug induced. The strangers can only get there by having sex with someone who's already been there and has a tattoo, a mark, on their skin with a map of part of the city - whereupon they receive a mark as well. The book has a strong internal logic and powerful eroticism, taps that emotion about wanting to be somewhere else and with someone else and being willing to do anything to get there. Fairy tale - like in that the story is mysterious and magical but the overall plot is murky and the moral of the story is hardly clear….but worth reading for the prose alone.
  • (5/5)
    From the very first page, describing Casimira’s vermin factory which produces flies, bees and rats for the city Palimpsest, I knew this was my kind of book. And from there, I went right into a two week maltreatment of it – reading snippets, falling asleep, not finding time for it for several days, and so forth. Which is not the best way to approach this rich, strange soup of ornamented, flowery language and bizarre imagery. But still the originality and emotional bite of this weird book cut through, and despite my best efforts to destroy it for myself, I’m left with one of this year’s most memorable reads.Palimpsest is a city in another world, and a sexually transmitted disease in ours. Having sex with someone infected is a ticket to passage, and symptoms include map-like birthmarks, displaying the part of the city you grant access to. Does that sound strange? Well, it’s really nothing compared to the city itself, where the dead are buried inside stalks of bamboo, where beggar surgeons pester people on the beach, where feral trains mate freely in abandoned stations and war veterans wear animal body parts. Many of the infected will do their best to shake off the city as dreams, doing all they can to stay away. But for some, people who have lost their way in life, Palimpsest becomes a possibility to find meaning. And for those, the pain lies in the fact that it seems impossible to stay more than a night at the time. Part surreal New Weird, part urban fantasy and topped with just a pinch of erotica, this is a truly original reading experience. Heady and clever, but also with an emotional rawness and a fair bit of blood and sweat which corresponded with the melancholy streak in me. It isn’t all perfection. The four main storylines are given an exactly equal share of the book, without being equally interesting. And the 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 organization of the book gets a little static. At times Valente seems to whip up strange images for their own sake. And the language is really a little too incense-reeking for my usual taste. For me it works like all hell, but – a little bit like with the city in the book - I guess I can also see how you can hate this. Me? I’m going to read everything by this author, and will keep my eyes open for strange maps on the skin of strangers.
  • (4/5)
    I do believe Palimpsest qualifies as the sexiest book I've ever read. Whew! Palimpsest is a fantastical city, maybe the city of the dead, full of surrealistic buildings, people who have had animal parts grafted onto themselves, a place where many people are unable to speak, where there is a river of cream, a tea house roofed with fingernail clippings and the trains are living creatures who breed with each other and must be caught if a passenger wants to ride. The only way to get to this fantastic city is to have sex with a person who has a black map tattooed somewhere on their body. Men who have never done so before have sex with men, women have sex with women much more readily, and men and women have sex with each other. Occasionally there is incest. After you have had sex with a tattooed stranger a black tattoo will appear somewhere on your body, but before that you sleep and dream your way into Palimpsest. Besides trains, houses and even the whole city are personified. Everything is so strange that it's hard for the reader to understand where she is, who is talking and exactly what is happening. As one man said, "You just have to open yourself and let it in." In the end, all the sex notwithstanding, virtue and constancy are emphasized. I'll be reading more of Catherynne Valente. I wonder if her other books are so poetic.
  • (4/5)
    In the author's own words, this book is about a "sexually transmitted city."Yeah.One of the weirdest, most beautiful, hard to comprehend books I've read in a long time. The story follows four people in different parts of the planet who come to the gates of Palimpsest at the same time. To do this, they have sex with someone who has a a bit of the city that grew like a rash on a part of their body and which our four characters will also sport now. The gates are the store of a Frog woman, where she gives them an ink foot bath. I could go on but it just gets weirder and weirder. Valente's prose is a tangled jungle of metaphor and imagery, the kind where it is really easy to get lost in (in a good and bad way).The sections where she describes the city are so dense I could hardly understand them, although it was worth while slogging through the metaphorical foliage. However, the sections where she describes the desperation and grief of her four characters and their need to get back to the city were poignant. Through all its fantastic, brightly-coloured plumes of prose, the core of this novel is stark loneliness and our all-too human desire for elusive connection. It is worth a read as long as you don't mind purple, all be-it masterfully done prose.
  • (1/5)
    This books is on my "Worst Books of All Time" list. One is so busy digging past all the metaphors and flowery language that one never quite can get to the depth of its story.I really just hated this book so much I couldn't finish it.
  • (2/5)
    Palimpsest is a novel thick with wonderful language and detailed description and twisting, twining metaphors. Unfortunately, it's so thick that it was impossible for me to wade through it to find characters, plot, or world worth caring about. I struggled through the first hundred pages of this novel before I admitted to myself that I was hating it. The turning point was a paragraph 7 lines long which boiled down to 'He visited all the neighbors to ask if anyone had seen his wife', and which I had to read 3 times in order to process properly.I like unique language and I love interesting visuals. But I don't want them to get in the way of my story. I won't be picking up Valente again.
  • (4/5)
    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)Regular readers know that last year, I once again attempted to read every nominee for science-fiction's Hugo Award in the brief space between their announcement and the winner's ceremony; and this in fact was the only one I wasn't able to get to in time, a dark-horse contender loved by only a small but intensely passionate audience. Unfortunately, though, this is not really SF so much as it is urban fantasy, not the traditional kind in which sexy vampires live among us but rather like a surrealist poem come to life; it's essentially the tale of a dreamlike city that exists hidden among us, where frog-faced oracles prance down Maxfield Parrish lanes, and where citizens identify each other in the waking world by a tattoo of the city map that mysteriously appears somewhere on their body after their first night-time visit. And while I can see why those who passionately love this book do so (it really is written in this hard-to-forget if not overly grandiose way), I have to confess that I'm not much of a fan of the entire urban-fantasy subgenre in general, and I question whether this should've even been nominated for a science-fiction award in the first place. If you're a fan of Cat Rambo or Justina Robson, you'll probably love this as well, although others might want to stay away altogether.Out of 10: 8.3, or 9.3 for fans of urban fantasy
  • (4/5)
    This is a quiet, unassuming book. It starts out quietly, builds slowly but steadily, until you realise that it's eaten its way into your mind and just won't let go. The ending doesn't feel quite like closure, and there are some political issues, but the universe is wonderful.Bechdel: Pass, easily.
  • (5/5)
    It's not for everyone, this beautiful, chaotic, often too rich novel. A slow magical dance that draws you in until you are there amidst a whirling dervish. Patience is required, take in the sights, make yourself at home, get to know the characters... and you will be richly rewarded.The story is narrated by a proud mysterious narrator and through "her" we meet four characters scattered all over our globe from San Francisco to Kyoto, all who have 'caught' Palimpsest, a patchwork city of the fantastical. The premise is startling as it is inventive, palimpsest as a sexual transmitted disease. One night of passion with someone who is 'infected' and you could wake up with a strange map like brand. This is the doorway. To enter again is an act of passion and to navigate the city you must find the right map. How far would you go to get what you want?There are some stunning ideas here, wrapped in gorgeous imagery, from the river of old clothes to a bamboo forest of the dead. The story is rhythmic, set into a pattern with each chapter starting with a glimpse of city, a city guide told by our unseen narrator. Each character has their allotted turn and when all have been visited time moves on. It an interesting stylistic choice but one which works well, smoothing the pacing and adding excitement with potentials.. if character a is doing x what will character b do.There are negatives (although not for me). The writing style may not be to everyone's tastes, the seemingly unrelated guides to the city, the not always likable characters. It maybe too fantastical for some but for me the whole thing works like clockwork. Reality grounds the baroque, the premise adds a stark darkness and the story flow beautifully because of the dreamy poetic style.
  • (4/5)
    It's hard for me to acknowledge that Valente's work is not for everyone, but it would be a lie if I were to say otherwise. For some, her fantastical imagery is too heavy, like swallowing stones, but for the children of poetry and monsters it is our bread and water. It is what thickens our blood and makes us strong. And much like the immigrants of Palimpsest, to meet another who has walked along these same bright paths is almost to face a mirror. There is a known quality to them that pulls at us ...more It's hard for me to acknowledge that Valente's work is not for everyone, but it would be a lie if I were to say otherwise. For some, her fantastical imagery is too heavy, like swallowing stones, but for the children of poetry and monsters it is our bread and water. It is what thickens our blood and makes us strong. And much like the immigrants of Palimpsest, to meet another who has walked along these same bright paths is almost to face a mirror. There is a known quality to them that pulls at us like a memory, like calling to like. Palimpsest is a call out to all those who have loved a city, real or imagined, and sought out those who have known such fierce, desperate love as well.