Kafka in Wonderland. That’s what I kept imagining as I read through this fantastic book.
Detective John Nyquist is getting clues about his father who disappeared over 20 years ago. He goes to visit the quaint but odd little village of Hoxley-on-Hale. Here the villagers honor 360 different saints, 360 days a year. For five days the villagers arefree to celebrate how they choose. These celebrations are extreme and the villagers follow them, er, religiously. On one day they may all wear masks, on another day they don’t speak, and still another they complete only half of EVERYthing (speech, actions, etc), and another still where everyone is addressed as either Alice or Edward. For a visitor looking for information, as Nyquist is, this is all very confusing and confounding. One might think that on one of those five ‘free’ days, it might be easier to commune with the villagers, but the citizens generally feel lost and uncertain on those days.
Nyquist has a very challenging time just trying to uncover who has been sending him messages about his father and what might have happened to his father and it only gets more complicated as there are some unusual murders occurring and he is clearly the most capable of detectives to look into this.
Really, all I can say to this is: Wow.
Jeff Noon is so incredibly creative. He writes some of the most amazing speculative fiction I have ever read. The story here is truly awesome, but it’s the journey, it’s Jeff Noon’s writing that transforms this from a simple good book to an experience.
It’s not just the wildly unusual/creative world surrounding Nyquist that is so wonderful here, it’s following Nyquist, seeing this world through his eyes, and trying to make some sense of what is happening. This series really is like Alice wandering through Wonderland. We have the one person with whom we identify – someone more-or-less like us, thrown into extremely unsettling situations and trying to navigate through it, with a goal in mind.
Looking for a good book? Creeping Jenny by Jeff Noon is the third book in the John Nyquist series and is astoundingly good. If you are extremely adverse to feeling disoriented, you might want to avoid this book. But if you enjoy wading through a Wonderland, or the varied realities in a Philip K. Dick novel, then settle yourself in and open this book.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Jeff Noon
series: John Nyquist #3
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 400 pages