Thursday, May 19, 2011
New take on an ancient story
I confess here and now that I am totally unacquainted with the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh. I will also confess that I intend to keep it that way. I will, however, tell you to go out at once and get Joan London's novel Gilgamesh! This book is a gem! Intriguing, beguiling and totally satisfying in the best possible way. You feel like you've read a huge continent-spanning family epic in which the characters become so real to you that you scream NO! when it's over and desperately want a sequel! This little book (it's under 400 pages) does all that and more. While there, admittedly, were a few slow patches at the beginning, once Jim was on the scene I could barely put it down. I feel I've been to this odd little rural corner of Australia and that I've traveled to war-time Armenia and back. I can smell the nursing home and feel the horror of that schoolyard. Joan London is a craftswoman with this one. I've never heard of her, but if this novel is any indication of her talent, I will be reading more of her work.