Ahoy there me mateys! So back in 2015 I was mesmerized by the John W. Campbell award finalists and was determined to read them all. Why that year versus any other year? I have no idea. But since that time me determination has not waivered. Getting copies of the novels and the time to read them were more of the problem. This novel marks me finally making it to the half-way point.
This novel is a hard one to categorize. The story is written in four parts with each part portraying a different perspective. All four characters are interlinked in odd ways. There is an additional epilogue that expands one character’s story.
I do know that the first part was me favourite. It dealt with greyhound racing wherein the dog is partnered with a human via a mind-link. Me second favourite was the fourth part which follows a woman who can mind-link. These were the two very sci-fi parts of the book. The other two chapters are not sci-fi but are rather very interesting character studies.
In fact, while the plots of each section were interesting, the characterizations were the highlight of the book. Ye truly get into the head of each person. Some might feel bogged down by those details and minutiae. I felt that the depth of feeling was quite lovely and even lyrical at times.
The world-building itself was fascinating. All chapters seemed to take place in a place like our world only slightly skewed. The author seemingly has an idea of alternate or mirror worlds. But were they really? I don’t know. The book certainly brought up more questions than providing answers. I feel like the first read barely scratched the surface and that it deserves a re-read after some time has passed. While certainly not for everyone, I am very glad to have read this one.
Side note: there is a rape scene in this book. Had I known I might not have read it. It did fit into the story so ultimately I finished the novel. But be forewarned.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel (this is a truncated version because the full Goodreads version really is odd and misleading):
The story of four damaged people whose lives are inextricably linked, The Race is a novel of tender nuances, brutality, insight and great ambition, a narrative that lays bare the fears and joys of being human, and, ultimately, offers hope to us all.
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