Friday, June 24, 2011

Leviathan Wept by Daniel Abraham

Leviathan Wept and Other Stories, by Daniel Abraham, is a book where the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover" is truly apt. I saw it and thought it would be fantasy because there was a character with a sword on the cover... Well, I was wrong. The works in here are mostly contemporary with a few fantasy and science fiction elements in the mix.

I enjoyed it. There were quite a few stories that were really interesting to read. I liked the way the characters were introduced but not really explained so much as their descriptions were concerned. This means it's really kind of based on the perspective of a character. I would say that it is definitely character-driven style narratives.

My favorite of the nine short stories in this anthology were: "The Support Technician Tango" and "Exclusion." I find those the most memorable of the stories. In the former, an office worker tries to improve himself by joining a dance class and reading a self-help book. In the latter, there is a way people can "exclude" other people by basically placing them on an ignore list, and then that person is invisible to them from that point on. I feel that the themes in his stories evoke the question of, "What if...?" What if you could exclude people so you never had to talk to them again? What if this other thing happened? And so on. 

One thing I noticed is that the ending to most of the stories felt abrupt. It wasn't a bad thing because it made it feel like the short story was just a snippet of some larger narrative. I like that, and I think it implies that Abraham is a clever writer who could really divulge on his themes. This makes me think I would enjoy his full-length novels. 

All in all, I recommend this if you're looking for a short story collection by one author. However, don't be drawn in only by the cover, because that illustration really only corresponds to one of the short stories ("A Hunter in Arin-Qin"). 

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