not merely superfluous, but ridiculous
this post was originally published on my Goodreads account.
I didn’t enter this into Goodreads immediately because I wanted to read it again first. I still haven’t done that (and may update this when I do), but suffice it to say it was a novel that left me spellbound by its language, impressed by its structure, and feeling frustrated while also feeling that maybe this is a book I’m supposed to be frustrated by. Each time I ask a question of it that tries to get at my feelings of dissatisfaction, it leads me to think of my own assumptions and what I really want from novels. Do I need a plot? No. Do I need characters to hug and learn and grow? No. Do I need to have a clear answer for everything? No, and in fact that would probably be a mark against any novel worth its salt.
So why am I intermittently so frustrated that this novel doesn’t have any of these things?
I think, in the end, it’s significant that the story revolves around a game that is like a giant maze out of which you can never escape, never find the edges. The central character is like that too, and while I don’t generally have much patience for existentialist protagonists designed to throw their own infinite unknowability in the reader’s face, but Sean Phillips was at least interesting and entertaining in the time I spent with him.