As some of you may know, I’ve been busy reading Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic Wheel of Time for a while, which comes at approximately 11000 pages in print (or a few Megabytes in Kindle). I am now half way into volume 10 of 14, Crossroads of Twilight. I haven’t read much else in quite a while, and I am ready for a break.
These are fine fantasy novels, and I applaud anyone capable of writing a tale of enormous proportions well enough that I, after finishing each of the previous nine volumes, immediately wanted to continue reading with the next one. Since the Wheel of Time is often compared to the other fantasy epic, George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, praise should be given to Wheel of Time for coming closest to Song of Ice and Fire. Closest, mind you, but not close.
The trouble with Wheel of Time is that each volume follows the same pattern: a necessary but tedious prologue is followed some building-up of action and conflict. The centre 65% of the book tell the tale without much significant progress, and events spiral to high speed and conclusions in the last 20%.
I find the central tedium increasingly hard to get through, especially since a friend made me aware of Haruki Murakami’s latest offering, 1Q84. I have now put the Wheel of Time aside and started on 1Q84. I’m still in the first of three books, but already love it. Haruki Murakami is the master of the modern surreal, and the translation is beautiful as far as I may be able to judge beauty in a foreign language.
All I need now is those extra 4 hours per day, and the skill not to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
- George R.R. Martin releases a chapter from the next Song of Ice and Fire book; fans eye it with suspicion (digitaltrends.com)
- The Daily Rant: Raving Haruki Murakami and 1Q84 (aardvarkian.com)
- Joy and Surprise: An Interview with Haruki Murakami (omnivoracious.com)
- 1Q84: Book One and Book Two, By Haruki Murakami, trs Jay Rubin (independent.co.uk)