Book Review: Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Spectra

Summary: Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse—a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important—a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine. 

I got to page 255 (Parts I-III) and decided to call this one before I embarked on Part IV. As the book only has 365 pages, I felt confident in feeling that if I didn't care about the characters by now, I wouldn't do and even with seriously beautiful prose (the author is phenomenal at showing this fantastical, weird world), I just didn't want to go on. There's a more than a fair amount of sex in this but I didn't find it erotic (I'm one of those that has to care about the characters to care about the sex their having) and I quite honestly thought that the plot, such as it was, was a bit thin. This felt like it was more about the world in which these characters moved. I picked this up because the summary sounded interesting so I'm disappointed that this was not the read for me. I'd definitely try this author again because I do thing she has a way with prose. I'd say give it a read yourself as I'm sure there is a perfect reader for this & the prose is elegant and worth a look in.

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