Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Dust Cover Dust-Up 2016: The Semifinals!

We're so close now! I may actually wrap this up by the end of the year, which would be an entirely new thing.

 
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki vs. The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin

We're down to books I really loved, and it's difficult to choose. A lot of mainstream fiction made it this far in the tournament, and all books by women. Genre, however, is my spiritual home, and when it's fantasy like N.K. Jemisin is writing, it's hard to top. Both of these are books of great subtlety, but the ways in which Jemisin explores culture and difference in ways that avoid easy villains or heroes (except in on particular case) are remarkable, and I found it challenged, rewarding, and delightful.

Winner: The Shadowed Sun




 
 Lila by Marilynne Robinson vs. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This is an interesting battle even though I know in my heart which book is going to win. Be that as it may, both of these are marvellously subtle books that are also emotionally devastating. I walked away from both shaken in the very best kind of way. At this point, everyone should read everything in this round. That being said, I knew from the beginning that Lila was likely to bulldoze its way through most of the competition, and so it does. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece, and even more powerful when read on top of the other books in the Gilead world. They build on each other in such subtle and amazing ways. The only thing I'm frustrated by is how few novels Robinson has written - but if what we get are novels like these, then perhaps I should be grateful.

Winner: Lila

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