The Separation by Christopher Priest
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Classic Christopher Priest.
With one caveat: Don't start here if you're new to him!
His Prestige is a great novel on its own, but that popular novel doesn't come all that near to the wide-wide ranging preoccupation with the Other place described in most of his other novels. And to be sure, there's a common theme in this one with those others.
Never-ending war. Lies and propaganda. Twins. Faulty memory. Strange, unexplainable events. Airplanes.
And above all, HISTORY. We *might* be spending some time in that other place. That alternate reality so hauntingly like our own. But in this past around WWII, all the names and people are pretty much the same... however... I think this is where the real separation happens between our history and the Other happens. I'm guessing because Priest never puts us in the shoes of people who ever really KNOW anything. They're just living their lives and surviving as they can. But for us, the Readers, we're locked in a hellishly fascinating struggle with separating OUR history with what THEIR history is doing.
Priest is kinda masterful here. He knows and has researched an AMAZING amount to give us this. But nothing is very obvious. Except for when it is, of course. :) All this is fantastic icing on the cake. At the core of it, we have our estranged twin brothers who devote themselves to living very different lives. One is a pro-war Bomber for England and the other is a Conscientious Objector working for the Red Cross. Their own separation and the similar wounds and circumstances they find themselves in at various points seem custom-made to paste them back together no matter how much they strive to separate themselves.
Their story is rather awesome all by itself, but it only gets better when we tick off all the fantastic mirroring techniques going on across all History, alternate dimensions, and the author's own predilections. :) As with all those other books I mentioned. :) They shine like signposts to us in this novel, giving us all the hints we need...
As long as we don't START here. :)
I'm rather flabbergasted. :) It's always a treat. :) A very, VERY smart treat. :)
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