8 December 2009

Christopher Priest, The Dream Archipelago, 2009

Seven stories (two of which are novellas) set on a chain of equatorial islands that are the focus of a long continental war, on a world that permanently sits beneath a strange vortex in time. These are very English stories in their manner as well as the romance of the setting, the archipelago representing an ideal locale for the perfect escape except that it is far less perfect in reality, and is also where these stories’ protagonists get to face themselves in unexpected and uncomfortable ways. Best of all is ‘The Miraculous Cairn’, which turns around at least one of the reader’s suppositions brilliantly, and ‘The Watched’ which combines a smattering of quantum theory with a rather Jungian fixation. Also present is the new Dream Archipelago story ‘The Trace of Him’, written especially for this new edition and which Priest later worked into his novel The Islanders. Loaded with metaphor and dream symbolism, Priest is something of a master at depicting unresolved sexual tensions. Highly recommended.  PY


No comments: