The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe
I have read Abe before, back in winter 2009, but his weirdness never fails to surprise me. He is very much a surrealist and was considered part of the avant-garde back when he first began publishing in the 1950s and 1960s. In some ways he is very like Tanith Lee (my favorite author) because he tends to write archetypes instead of characters, in fact even names are missing. The two main characters, usually referred to as "the man" and "the woman," are meant to portray ideals or sentiments rather than people. Sometimes I wonder if something is lost in translation or if I just really don't fully understand the ideals these characters are supposed to represent.
Does anyone have any tips for me?
With that said, I did enjoy this rather bizarre and horrifying tale of a man being held captive in a (literal) pit/hole with a woman. They are responsible for digging sand out every night, to keep it from encroaching any further on the village below. Yes, it's weird. Yes, he schemes to escape...but I think Abe is saying something about the human will to freedom here which makes the final scene of a dangling rope ladder rather unsettling...
Watchstar by Pamela Sargent
Amazon says "Alone in the desert, Daiya is faced with dilemma that will determine her fate. If she can successfully resolve it she will join the Net of her village, but if she fails, her life will be spent will the feared Merged Ones. Confused and torn between worlds near and far, Daiya harbors a secret of her people, and must find a way to move beyond her discoveries to a safe place where she can survive."
I find the summary misleading! Daiya lives on a futuristic Earth populated by telekinetic and telepathic agrarian humans who strive towards becoming one with "The Merged One"/God. "Solitaries" without these abilities are born into their society, and quickly killed, and those who survive are tested upon entering adulthood to see whether or not they can truly enter the village and become Merging Ones themselves. Individuality is, not surprisingly, looked down upon. But Daiya meets a Solitary not of this world, and this threatens not only her worldview but her entire planet with her "separateness." This is a young adult fantasy/sci-fi read from 1980...it's quite enjoyable.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Amazon says "Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier
Yup I am still trucking through this one...very slowly.
I love Marillier but for some reason I find this series so...unreadable! I just can't connect with any characters and don't really care about the plot...any tips to get through this because I really want to read it!