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I actually finished reading this weeks ago but have only just got round to writing this review because I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. Some of you will remember that I read my first Dan Simmons novel towards the end of last year (my review is here) and that I absolutely loved it. The Song of Kali is a trickier proposition.
So the American poet Robert Luczak has been commissioned by a magazine to write an article about the Indian poet M. Das, who appeared to be dead but has now resurfaced with a new work. Luczak’s wife is Indian, so she and their baby daughter accompany him to Calcutta to locate Das and see if a deal to publish the new poetry can be worked out. And then, of course, it all goes horribly wrong.
Has Das come back from the dead? Is there going to be a new age of Kali where violence and destruction hold sway? Will the Luczak family get out of all of this unscathed?
This seems to me to be much more of a horror than a fantasy work; it’s incredibly dark, grim, violent and really, really disturbing in places. I struggled to finish it despite the fact that it is so well written, because it is pretty compelling stuff which lodges in your mind, and actually I wasn’t sure that I really did want to know how things were going to work out.
This is very much an acquired taste, and was my first read for the Once Upon a Time III challenge.
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen & Kimber via phone & Skype conference, the color mango and the number 70566.
1. What color is your front door? White with glass panels
2. We discussed our folks in previous TT so now tell me about your siblings. Two brothers, both younger. Went to see a football match with the eldest (oldest?) one on Saturday and had a whale of a time. Seems better than ever now we are all over 40.
3. What color/type butterfly is your favorite? Red Admiral, have absolutely no idea why as I all I ever seem to see are Cabbage Whites. Glad you didn’t ask about moths (ugh!)
4. Will you be celebrating Cinco De Mayo? Nope
5. Oprah- love her, hate her, or don’t care? Don’t care
6. Are you worried about the spread of swine flu? Not really, these things happen
7. Hard or soft pillows? Soft pillows that can be scrunched up as necessary.
8. How many trees are in your neighbor’s yard? None
9. What was the color of the last car you saw? Silver
10. When does your driver’s license expire? Can’t drive so don’t have one.
11. Look at the clock on your computer and type the numbers backwards. 3391
12. When you put your pants on, what leg do you put in first? Right leg (I think, but now I’m not so sure…..)
13. How would you respond to this letter if you were an advice columnist? I could never be an advice columnist, my track record on dispensing advice is really, really poor. Your best bet would be to listen to what I have to say and go do the opposite. Not even going to try with this one.
It seems only fitting that during Carl’s Once Upon a Time Challenge (when my mind is on all things fantasy) I had the opportunity to experience something really quite unusual – a screening of Fellowship of the Ring with Howard Shore’s complete score performed live by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. The film was shown on a huge screen with subtitles so you could still follow the dialogue, and I don’t think I can find the words to describe just what a fantastic evening it was. From where I was sitting I had a clear view of the conductor’s podium, and could see the laptop giving the musical cues that allowed Ludwig Wicki to bring the orchestra and choirs in at the right time. Magnificent stuff and if any of you get the chance to see something like this you should really go along. They are planning to perform The Two Towers next year and I’ll definitely be there if I can.
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Kimber, the color rainbow and the number 2.
- Recently Berleen and I have discovered the allure of the Twilight series. Have you ever been suckered into the latest thing? I am almost always a late adopter (except for the Da Vinci Code, when I wished I hadn’t bothered at all). Am avoiding Twilight stuff like the plague.
- What software do you use for your e-mail? Yahoo and Outlook
- Are you comfortable being nude? Well, that depends…..
- What is something you plan to do this summer? Clear out my study in preparation for home-working from September
- Do you have a favourite movie/book quote? If so what is it? Can’t find the book at the moment, but it goes something like: ‘”I’m dangerous when cornered.” “Yes, you go to pieces so fast people get hit by the shrapnel”‘ from The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Not very inspiring, but always makes me giggle.
- How many e-mail addresses do you have? 4, including work
- Is the sky falling? Not the last time I looked.
- Have you been to the Grand Canyon? No
- When was the last time you mailed a hand written letter? Haven’t the foggiest. No-one can read my handwriting anyway.
I had the great pleasure of watching the latest Dr Who episode, Planet of the Dead, at the weekend as part of the 42 Challenge, and thoroughly good it was too. My review is here, along with some stuff about the remaining Tennant era stories.
I’m really pleased to be taking part in this challenge again this year, hosted by Trish – the official site is here.
My tentative list is:
- The Secret Life of Aphra Benn by Janet Todd
- Queen Victoria by Christopher Hibbert
- Bess of Hardwick by Mary S Lovell
- Murder, Magic, Madness by Owen Davies
- The Five Euphemias by Elizabeth Sutherland
So four historical biographies and a true crime book, to be read between May and September 2009; but I might change my mind….
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Kimber, the color yellow and the number 8554.
- Did you play any April Fools jokes on anyone or have a joke played on you? I don’t really like playing jokes on people, and if someone played one on me it clearly went way over my head…
- If you could be on any non-reality TV show as a guest star or star, which one would it be and why? Dr Who, being deleted by a Cyberman, so as to get close to the lovely Mr Tennant
- Do you crack your knuckles? Nope
- If you remember your first day of kindergarten, were you scared or excited? It was so, so long ago I can’t remember a thing.
- If you are in the shower, hear the fire alarm going off and smell smoke/see flames, will you just run out of the house with a towel on or grab some clothes and dress as you run out? I would probably freeze in a British surely-that-can’t-be-the-fire-alarm kind of way, then panic, then run out pulling clothes on
- Last week the Thursday Thunkers asked about your Daddy (twice) so this week tell us a little about your Mom. My poor old Mum is no longer with us and I still miss her even after all these years…
- Which search engine do you use most often? Google.
- Did you participate in Earth Hour? I meant to, but must have got distracted (honest)
- What was the last new-to-you movie you watched? Was it in a theatre or on DVD? Was it good? No Country for Old Men on DVD last weekend, and this is what I thought about it; and I’m going to see Monsters vs Aliens tomorrow at the cinema
- If you do something embarrassing, do you laugh it off or sit and worry about it? I laugh it off at the time, then wake up at 3 am in a cold sweat, and have the memory come back to me periodically over the ensuing years – I still remember stuff that happened when I was in primary school and that was an awfully long time ago.
- Where is your favourite spot in your home to sit and relax? That would be here
So who is watching the Watchmen?
And is this really No Country for Old Men?
Head here to find out…..