Saturday, November 01, 2008

Imperium by Robert Harris

I enjoyed reading Enigma and Archangel, both by Robert Harris. So when I saw Imperium for sale in the local library for 20p, I grabbed it. (It had a couple of loose pages and they were getting rid of damaged stock).

This isn't going to be a review of the story - because I'm only half way through. Rather, it is an appreciation of the style. When you read a book that seems to have been written effortlessly, know that the writer sweated blood over it. This is the case with Robert Harris's writing. Such a complex story, such a smooth style. Marvellous.

I am also enjoying the 'pulse' of the story. Writers are often advised to put their heroes into difficulty - to make them suffer. But if this is not punctuated by small victories along the way, the story as a whole can become the narrative version of a dirge in music. A story needs a pulse. Positive and negative, following on from each other. Volition and passivity. Crisis and victory. Light and dark. These are the tones with which the storyteller paints. Harris does this beautifully.

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