Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Review: The Dream of Perpetual Motion
The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Please Note: I read and reviewed this book in February 2010 from a copy received from the Amazon Vine program. This review has been slightly altered to fit into my current formatting.
My Initial Thoughts: Dexter Palmer has written down a dream, full of strange cuts from one scene to another, past to present to future all intertwined, bits and pieces winding around each other until it all slowly comes to focus ... almost ... and then suddenly you're awake and the book is finished.
My Reading Experience: I couldn't stop reading this book. I would want to. I would try to stop, to take a nap, try to digest what I just read, but I would just find myself staring at the ceiling, thinking about it until I would find myself sitting up again and reaching for the book, to continue reading.
My Synopsis: How to describe it, though ... the main character is one Harold Winslow - an average boy (who will grow to be an average man) who gains the attention of a pair of men who work for Prospero Taligent at an amusement park and ends up getting himself invited to Miranda Taligent's 10th birthday party. Prospero is a genius, and an inventor, who has invented all types of things - such as mechanical men, who are taking over so many jobs and tasks in the world - and flying cars and other marvels in the world, bringing in the age of Machines and pushing away the age of Miracles. He took in Miranda as a baby and has adopted her and raised her as his own, but he has decided that she needs to be exposed to children of her own age.
At any rate, the birthday party is just the first of several circumstances in which Harold's and Miranda's lives will meet. And it all ends up in Prospero's zeppelin, where Harold composes his memoirs, accompanied by the sound of Miranda's voice and the cryogenically frozen corpse of Prospero.
My Recommendations: This is a very odd book - I'll tell you no lies there. But I think you will probably like it, if this is the sort of thing you like - steampunk, that is; dystopian futures that are actually in the past (amusingly this is all set back in the early 1900s sometime - it's not exactly told us - just that it's the "early 20th century"), that sort of thing. The mixture of sly humour (and yes, Dexter Palmer, I saw your cameo there!) and outright horror and the strangeness ... it's oddly beautiful when seen overall. Give this one a try - I think you'll be amazed.
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