"The Separation" by CHRISTOPER PRIEST is a prime example of great and mind-boggling alternative history fiction. You get caught up in a story narrated by two identical twins through their journals and a few external publications on the lives of the two. The story is about the lives of Jack (the bomber pilot) and Joe L. Sawyer (the pacifist ambulance driver) during the WWII England. They have a love-hate relationship and they are both in love with the same woman. The war and their personal differences separate them, but as we follow their journal entries and external ("objective") facts are introduced along the way via newspaper articles and other official publications, we realize that a lot of the information we picked up along the way really contradicts itself. Priest does not spoon-feed the reader with the right answers, but leaves you to juggle with your thoughts and come up with a reasonable explanation for what was really going on. The writing is superb as well. A great page-turner even though the book offers limited action. If you want a breezy read full of adventure this probably isn't it, but what it offers is high quality drama, a well-written and highly enjoyable prose (the red herrings and the conflicting facts are masterfully woven into the fable so they don't disrupt the flow of the novel at all), and a sharp mind to connect the dots at the end to come up with an answer for the factual discrepancies. A great, heartily recommended read! Somewhere in between 4/5 and 4.5/5.
- Thrinidir -
Friday, April 30, 2010