HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Square Wave by Mark de Silva
Loading...

Square Wave

by Mark de Silva

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
261415,071 (3.33)None

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

If you are a particular kind of reader, this novel offers an embarrassment of riches. On a sentence by sentence level, it really IS flawless; there is not a cliche to be found, it's un-apologetically erudite, and comprised of hyper-attentive and detailed prose. At a macro-level it is quite ambitious, presenting a pastiche of connections/divergences ranging from a not-so-distant future where democracy teeters on a precarious edge, to an account of colonial clashes in 17th century Sri Lanka, to experimental musicians who combine every musical ratio to create a wall of (non)noise, to physicists converting weapons into cloud-seeding technology.

In other words, it is a very smart book, written by a very smart person who clearly has mastery of more fields than seems fair for a mere mortal. De Silva is a philosopher by training, but it is obvious that is not the extent of his expertise. I know some philosophy, but I don't know music theory, nor do I have a strong grasp on physics, so I imagine a lot of fun detail was lost on me. He is indeed quite impressive. The book has been touted as a balletic mapping of the confluence of geniuses.

This puts the reader in a bind. For, if it turns out you do not like or enjoy it, perhaps you lack the intellectual resources to understand it? Maybe it is not a book for you, but a book for geniuses. And perhaps you simply are not a member of that elite club.

Am I philistine if I say I found the prose--despite its admitted technical skillfulness--lifeless, over-laden, uncompelling, dragging, and (dare I say) straight-up boring? It felt like watching someone watch themselves flexing in the mirror. The fact that you're there, witnessing it, is just icing for the one flexing; they assume their own beauty is obvious and that you are indeed quite lucky to behold it.

But the characters--brilliant as we are told they are-are in fact quite poorly sketched. Every one of them rings tinny and hollow; despite the wide variation of their interests, they all sound the same, speak in the same voice. Is this supposed to be the shared inner language of genius?

I will say very little about the treatment of women in the book, except that it contains some of the more graphic depictions of pornography and violence against women I have ever read. The lone female character who is not a sex-worker is merely a prop*--a foil for the male geniuses who arouses petty jealousies, and is ultimately left behind. *Literally the main character rests an elbow on her while she sleeps on his lap at a party. ( )
  reganrule | Apr 26, 2016 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"Carl Stagg, a writer researching imperial power struggles in 17th century Sri Lanka, ekes out a living as a watchman in a factionalized America where confidence in democracy has eroded. Along his nightly patrol, Stagg finds a beaten prostitute, one in a series of monstrous attacks. Suspicious of his supervisor's intentions, Stagg partners with a fellow part-time watchman, Ravan, to seek the truth. Ravan hails from a family developing storm-dispersal technologies, whose research is jointly funded by the Indian and American governments. The watchmen's discoveries put a troubling complexion on Stagg's research, giving it new shape and impetus, just as the weather modification project begins to appear less about dispersing storms than weaponizing them."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 wanted

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.33)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 1
3.5
4
4.5
5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,361,718 books! | Top bar: Always visible