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Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer
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Veniss Underground (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Jeff VanderMeer

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5872516,791 (3.67)45
Member:ashamel
Title:Veniss Underground
Authors:Jeff VanderMeer
Info:Night Shade Books (2003), Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:novel

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Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer (2003)

Recently added bySaraMSLIS, Shannon.R, private library, GraemeSH, genrebending, BooksOn23rd, mbvinstrup, DavidCady
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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
4.5 stars ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
4.5 stars ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
First Nicholas goes looking for Quin and finds him. Then Nicola, his twin, goes looking for Nicholas, and he finds her. Then Shadrach, Nicola's lover, goes looking for Nicola and then for Quin. It's all set in the city of Veniss, wrapped in a wall a mile thick to keep the desert out. Decaying, decadent, fragmenting, inward-looking, Veniss is one of the last, lingering enclaves of humanity, and it's sitting on top of a vast, hellish underground labyrinth where Quin rules supreme.

Quin is a genetecist and mad scientist who has created intelligent meerkats with human arms and blue, multi-limbed ganeshas. His kingdom is packed to the rafters with grotesqueries and abominations and left-over atrocities. It's Shadrach who, like Orpheus, must venture into this hideous underworld for love and revenge, with a meerkat's head tied to his arm, to find the man who made it all.

This is a short, dense, structurally clever book that might be unbearable if it wasn't so well written. Vandermeer makes poetry out of the horrors and the odd flash of beauty, and there's plenty of conceptual wit, staggering visions and flashes of beauty to keep the reader engaged. It's hard not to emerge from this book feeling a ghostly fraction of the transformations undergone by the characters, and look at the world and people and other books a little differently. It's a mad book about a mad world. Recommended. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
From the more or less normal top world to the increasingly weird subterranean levels, this book sends you on a trip to deeply surreal el bosco-type world. Although some parts work better than others it is definitely worth a read for its uniqueness. And then I'll read anything featuring meerkats. ( )
  kinsey_m | Jul 30, 2013 |
The book contains one short novel, a novella, and three short stories, revolving around the city of Veniss. Reminiscent of Harrison's Viriconium in the way the portrayal of the city changes so much, while some elements reappear from story to story. Not quite as memorable as Vandermeer's Ambergris, but an interesting blend of dystopian science fiction and dark fantasy elements. ( )
  CarlosMcRey | May 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
... a nightmare vision that shows off VanderMeer's many virtues - his linking of character and plot to the mythic core of his story, his idiosyncratic inventions which derive straight from the psyche, rather than from any generic inspiration, his ambitious style and his vivid descriptive powers. The denouement is as powerful as any I have read.
added by andyl | editThe Guardian, Michael Moorcock (Nov 29, 2003)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeff VanderMeerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Let me tell you why I wished to buy a meerkat at Quin's Shanghai Circus.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553383566, Paperback)

In his debut novel, literary alchemist Jeff VanderMeer takes us on an unforgettable journey, a triumph of the imagination that reveals the magical and mysterious city of Veniss through three intertwined voices. First, Nicholas, a would-be Living Artist, seeks to escape his demons in the shadowy underground–but in doing so makes a deal with the devil himself. In her fevered search for him, his twin sister, Nicola, spins her own unusual and hypnotic tale as she discovers the hidden secrets of the city. And finally, haunted by Nicola’s sudden, mysterious disappearance and gripped by despair, Shadrach, Nicola’s lover, embarks on a mythic journey to the nightmarish levels deep beneath the surface of the city to bring his love back to light. There he will find wonders beyond imagining…and horrors greater than the heart can bear.

By turns beautiful, horrifying, delicate, and powerful, Veniss Underground explores the limits of love, memory, and obsession in a landscape that defies the boundaries of the imagination. This special edition includes the short stories “The Sea, Mendeho, and Moonlight”; “Detectives and Cadavers”; and “A Heart for Lucretia” and the novella Balzac’s War, offering a complete tour of the fantastic world of Veniss.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A triumph of the imagination that reveals the magical and mysterious city of Veniss through three intertwined voices. First, Nicholas, a would-be Living Artist, seeks to escape his demons in the shadowy underground, but in doing so makes a deal with the devil himself. In her fevered search for him, his twin sister, Nicola, spins her own unusual and hypnotic tale as she discovers the hidden secrets of the city. And finally, haunted by Nicola's sudden, mysterious disappearance and gripped by despair, Shadrach, Nicola's lover, embarks on a mythic journey to the nightmarish levels deep beneath the surface of the city to bring his love back to light. There he will find wonders beyond imagining ... and horrors greater than the heart can bear.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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