Set against the backdrop of a plague that has swept across Earth several decades in the future, Sequoia Nagamatsu’s short story collection wades through loss and longing with equal measure, painting a bleak yet innovative picture of the future.
One of the benefits of going into a book without too much knowledge of its premise is that it becomes fully poised to surprise you. And surprise me, it did! On multiple accounts.
Classified as sci-fi, the book veers towards medical science and discussions of biology, which I wasn’t a big fan of. What truly left an impression on me is the world that the author writes of and the storylines that take precedence over the intricacies of these sci-fi elements.
He writes of parents left helpless as their children succumb to the virus, of a society that allows euthanasia, and of strangers who meet in the afterlife, to name a few. And with every story, the heartache only becomes more vivid.
While the angles of these stories may be different, many of the characters in them are connected, lending more meaning to their storylines. I really liked that aspect of the book. It helped me make sense of it as a whole and also in terms of different character inclinations.
What I love the most about this collection is that there’s no limit to the author’s imagination. You’ll encounter a world so unlike ours but one that still reflects the principles and norms that contain society today.
Some of my favourite titles in the collection are Through the Garden of Memory, City of Laughter, and Elegy Hotel. These deserve kudos for sure!
There were times when I felt too overwhelmed by the depth of the information shared, and I wished that it could’ve been delivered in a more simple manner for audiences that aren’t well-versed in science.
But perhaps that would’ve altered the feel of the writing. And Sequoia’s ability to weave a tale champions the book.
His writing style is fluid and sentimental, full of big hopes for his characters and an unconditional acceptance of who they are.
I tried my best to make the most of the reading experience and am certainly impressed by the book! Maybe if I had a better understanding of the subject or re-read some of the stories, it would help cement all those fine details of the writing and translate more of what the author imagined.
On the whole, I’m glad that I’ve been introduced to Sequoia Nagamatsu’s writing. I would only recommend this book to those who are familiar with the realms of sci-fi or are open to learning more about it.
Note – I received an ALC of this book from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.