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Passing strange by Ellen Klages
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Passing strange (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Ellen Klages

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2852767,520 (3.83)17
San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World's Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer "authentic" experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet. Six women find their lives as tangled with each other's as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.… (more)
Member:eldang
Title:Passing strange
Authors:Ellen Klages
Info:New York : Tom Doherty Associates, 2017.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Passing Strange by Ellen Klages (2017)

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English (26)  German (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
A haunting story that squeezes a lot of tenderness and a little humour out of a context of bitter repression. ( )
  eldang | Oct 17, 2020 |
I have mixed feelings about this novella. On the one hand, the story is wonderful - unique, moving, and thought-provoking. I was up well past my bedtime thinking about the ending after I finished the book.

On the other hand, I found the writing style off-putting. It's not straightforward enough to be transparent to the reader, which is my preference. But it's not graceful enough to be lyrical. It's full of embellishments which didn't entirely fly for me - it sort of clunked around rather than singing.

But I'm willing to put up with prose choices that don't work for me for a special story, and this story is special. The 1930s queer San Francisco setting is wonderful to read about, and I loved the glimpses we got of the magical system. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
there is a lot to like here, especially the group of women friends who are smart, pithy, loyal, queer, and independent. i love what i can imagine as their all night debates about religion and science and magic. i don't usually like a lot of magic in books when realism could do, and the magic here seemed a bit...haphazard and meaningless until the end. i liked the way she tied that in and used it, even as it's not normally my thing. i probably would have liked it less if it had been used more, but it also probably would have been a little stronger if it was sprinkled a bit more throughout. i also don't usually like the framework she used for the book, but it worked for me here. (i guess it's not completely traditional in that the first part is told from helen's point of view and the last part is told from the dealer's point of view.) it was also a surprise then when we went back in time, that even though we opened with helen, she wasn't the main story we followed. klages did some unusual things with what, at first, seemed like a familiar
structure, and i appreciate that.

i would like this to be longer. there is some nice, elegant detail here, but i want more from all of the characters in the friend circle, as each of them are fascinating and deserve more time on the page. and i don't really feel like we got to know any of them, or fully understand the love between haskel and emily. that said, she managed to talk about quite a lot in a small book. (it's shorter than the 220 pages sound; the pages are small and the margins are big.) the feeling she gave of san francisco in 1940; the art work that haskel did for the pulp publications; the relative safety (and also the danger) of the community that made itself in san francisco when they weren't able to stay with their families of origin in other places in the country; the racism helen faced but also her strength; this circle of women friends that i wanted to be a part of. it's well done but i wanted it to be longer because of how much more i'd like to know about all of them and how much more time i'd like to spend in their world. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Jul 5, 2020 |
Interesting story that focuses on the LGBT community during the 20's. It also has some magic elements to it which were pretty interesting. I think the ending could have been explained a little better but was good for the most part. I also loved the friendships in this story. A small group of women who support and help each other whenever they can was nice to read about. ( )
  KeriLynneD | Jul 3, 2020 |
This is a paranormal romance/historical fiction/novella. It takes place in San Francisco in the 1940's. It was a fun, easy read. ( )
  banjo123 | Jun 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Best science fiction and fantasy books this month -- "Ellen Klages deftly weaves science, magic and religion in “Passing Strange” (Tor), a historical fantasy with a strong vein of pulp."
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellen Klagesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Manchess, GregoryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Emma and Eunice, Duke Hobson, and the rest of the cast at Polyvinyl Films
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On the last Monday of her life, Helen Young returned from the doctor's and made herself a cup of tea.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World's Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer "authentic" experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet. Six women find their lives as tangled with each other's as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.

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San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.



Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.



Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages.
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