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- Started reading:
- 2011-11-13 07:33:59
- Finished reading:
- 2011-11-17 13:10:59
This modern retelling of the legend of Orpheus is a brilliantly rendered elegiac novel despite its graphic depiction of the horrors of the underworld and a self-loathing protagonist. The writing is reminiscent, at times, of some of my favorite authors including Tim Powers, Robert Kadrey, and Mike Carey. But the result is a unique melange of horror and pathos as musician Niko must travel through a hellish underworld to retrieve the soul of the woman he loves. The horrific things he encounters have much in common with Bosch and Dante even as they serve to drive forward the narrative and provide a backdrop for Niko’s ultimate redemption, leaving open to the very end whether he’ll succeed to merely repeat the failure of Orpheus, being in some fashion the reincarnation or archetype of all those who have previously journeyed to the underworld on the same mission. It’s a book that’s hard to put down and as hard to look away from as a car wreck (of which there are several among the other occurrences), but ultimately uplifting and positive for all of that.