Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Architect by Brendan Connell

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

Summary (from here): The mad and mystical Körn Society, based in Ticino, Switzerland, sets itself the task of building a grand, soul-uplifting Meeting Place for its members. An inspired architect, a visionary in stone, must be found, and one such is available: the mysterious and unpredictable Alexius Nachtman. But is he perhaps too visionary?

This is the effect of his book of sketches:

“Huge edifices, megastructures, poured from the leaves. Bridges which spanned oceans, towers which stretched into the clouds, huge fortresses which looked as if they could withstand the destructive force of an Armageddon. Vertical cities rose up from desert plains in startling anaxometrics, while spatial cities, cities built fifteen or twenty meters above their counterparts, stood forth as visions of utopian architecture, only to be outdone on subsequent pages by floating cities, vast nests of hexagonal pods resting atop lakes and oceans. Structures which straddled the earth and others which burrowed under it. Buildings which brought to mind lost civilizations or seemed to be the habitations of beings from another world . . . ”   

Despite doubts, he is hired. And so, in this adventure of marble and mortar, of machines and workmen, of cult and manipulation, the most bizarre construction project since Babel commences its Cyclopean growth.

My thoughts: I finished reading the book a couple of days ago, but I couldn't get myself to write this post, because it doesn't really seem enough. This is the sort of book, which, once I'm done reading it, I will put away with a happy sigh, a "wow" and wouldn't really try to dissect it. But it's also a "review copy", and I have to write a review. It's impressive, which was the first thing that popped into my mind, along with the words weird, fascinating, powerful, complex, bizarre, surreal. The imagery is fantastic, the descriptions are vivid and what I could see in my mind while reading the book was spectacularly close to real. The story moves at a fast pace, and while there is not much scope for character development, it makes for an engaging read. I have only just started reading weird fiction, by authors who are not Lovecraft and as I was reading the book, I thought of every single one of them at one time or another. It is masterfully crafted, as they say, and beautifully written, and I cannot even imagine how much thought went into it (which is not something I feel quite that regularly, when reading review copies.)

That being said, I don't think it is a book for everybody. I am not sure if every reader I know would like the book or the style of writing. But I am definitely going to recommend this book to all those, who I think would! Not to mention, there is another book by the author on its way to my doorstep at this very moment, and I can't wait to dive right into it!

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