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Palimpsest Paperback – February 24, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
For reasons we don't early know, people exist in our world who bear marks on their skin, black tattoos that appear to be pieces of an otherworldly map. These people are gateways to Palimpsest, to enter involves sex and the heavy sleep after orgasm. Those who sleep after climax in our world wake to wander the streets of Palimpsest, the part of the map on their partner's body, except in the case of first time visitors. First timers are required to visit a certain fortune-teller, a woman with the head of a frog. She sees clients only in groups of four, these four are then bound together, a family of sorts. Whenever in Palimpsest, no matter how far apart, these four strangers intimately share each other's experiences. They taste the same tastes, they feel each other's pleasure and pain. When morning comes to Palimpsest, visitors then wake in our world. New-comers also wake with a mark of their own, a new gateway to this gorgeous and sometimes cruel city. Permanent residence is elusive, but not impossible. The novel follows four characters who have lost something in our world and desperately hope to find it in Palimpsest.
Valente has created something absolutely brilliant in Palimpsest.Read more ›
It's been a while since I've encountered a book I couldn't, or wouldn't finish, but when reading feels like a chore, rather than a pleasure, it's time to move on. I have a love-hate feeling for this novel, because part of me is awed by the pure poetry of the images Catherynne Valente brings forth. Some of her sentences should be framed and mounted on a wall, like art. They were simply gorgeous.
But, and there is a big BUT here, I never felt like there was something I could grab onto. I was lost in this mad, beautiful, horrible dream, and I just wanted to wake up and put my feet on solid ground again. Valente never lets the reader ground herself on terra firma, or get a sense that here is one world, and there is the other. The two worlds mix and blend together until I was dizzy and wanted to throw up.
The writing is very close to pure poetry, and it drove me mad trying to piece together the disconnected fragments of this story. It's a hard, hard read, and I need so much more structure in a story to feel happy there. I can't help wishing that the earth-bound parts of the story reflected a hard, cold reality, and thereby provide a juxtaposition between the living and dreaming. It was an intriguing vision, but one that I could not hold onto.
If you have read Valente's other works, then you will love this--and have probably already read it. (As will soon be obvious, I've so far only read her previous series The Orphan's Tales.) Her voice lyrical and richly textured, and it rings true in the vibrant tapestry which is Palimpsest. It has also matured somewhat since the Orphan's Tales: the metaphors are better integrated, and so the text is smoother and less repetitive. Her story-telling has also improved: there is a better balance, here, between the glimpses into Palimpsest's hidden corners and the overarching plot that brings the protagonists together, and so the reader is dazzled and emotionally engaged in careful measure. The characters glow, unique and faulted and inspiring. And of course the world that she builds is magic, the sort of magic which demands blood payment for the greatest miracles. Palimpsest is grittier and more tightly focused than Orphan's Tales, but if you have loved her style before, you will love it again here. And if you have never picked up Valente's work, this is still a good place to begin--her magic will sweep you away.
For all that, Palimpsest isn't perfect.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read some several of the reviews to be found here, and of the people who rated it low because they did not understand it, and admitted to their lack of understanding, I urge... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Holy crap this is a good book.
Looking to buy it so I can read it again.
I love this book to death and suggest it for anyone who's read another book by Catherynne Valente or anyone who's into twists and turns in novels. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sammy Creed
dark, dark book. if you want to feel depressed and read about the sadder parts of humanity, read it.Published 3 months ago by Donatosmama
Brilliant. Expect it to be like nothing you have read before.Published 7 months ago by down in Mexico
I haven't read this book. I did download a sample and think I might enjoy it. I'm just struggling with the idea of an electronic book that costs more than a paperbook. Read morePublished 7 months ago by bronc
Valente is a spectacular writer, and this is a spectacular book. I've read reviews that said it has no plot, which makes me think they didn't read much - or any -of the book, since... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joshua Dancer