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Yarn Paperback – December 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Armstrong's stand-alone prequel to his 2007 debut, Grey, is set in the same superficial, dystopic near-future ruled by fashion and consumerism. Cities like Seattlehama are towering bastions of "sex and shopping" where "saleswarriors" and "salessoldiers" battle for customers. Most people live in the sprawling agricultural areas called slubs. Tane Cedar, one of the world's top fashion designers, is confounded when his former lover Vada, a fugitive revolutionary, inexplicably appears near death in his showroom and asks him to complete the impossible task of finding illegal yarn and making a coat of it in just one day. Tane's quest confronts him with the tyranny and hopelessness of the world outside of the cities while answering his questions about his nightmarish childhood and enigmatic father. Armstrong's stylized tale is a profoundly moving fusion of visionary images and compelling social commentary. (Dec.)
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About the Author

Jon Armstrong is a speculative fiction writer. His first novel, Grey, was published in 2007 and was short-listed for the Philip K Dick Award. That same year, Jon was also nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802109
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gail Posey on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knit and sew, and sometimes design clothing for myself, so I admit: I was prepared to condescend to Jon Armstong's book, Yarn. However, I speedily realized my error. Jon has been to design school and is miles ahead of me! I really thought I couldn't finish the book because it was so far over my head.

However, I got a grip on myself, finished reading the story, and enjoyed the amazing storytelling. I will say I personally spent the most time marveling over the machines Jon invented, trying to imagine how they worked.

The detailing in Yarn will blow you away. Forget what you think you know and let Jon lead you into his universe.

You can listen to Jon's first book, Grey, at Podiobooks.com for an introduction to his storytelling ability. Check out his podcast, If You're Just Joining Us, for the interview where Jon talked to the cover artist. It was great.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was quircky science fiction and I loved it. A universe where entire societies are based on clothing. Armstrong weaves a tale (pun intended) that is rich in description and a little wacky. Every other chapter is written in the present and the past, which builds the story as it goes along. I recommend it as a change of pace to other science fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like how in this book the hero isn't a mercernary or a cop or a super-hacker, just a farm boy come to the city with an interest in fashion. How many friends do you have who are mercernaries? Makes this book highly relatable even though it's set in a totally futuristic setting. Great dialogue, good action, excellent pacing, and fun from start to finish.
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Format: Paperback
What I loved:

It was the cover-art of this book that *really* grabbed me. I kept going back to where it was displayed at a FOGcon dealer table, and in the end decided to judge the book by its cover.

The world-building was brilliant. I loved the Japanese cast to the whole thing, and using Fashion as the guiding principle of society was intriguing and unique. The descriptions were wonderfully evocative.

But.

There was some kind of mismatch between the plot and the place and pace. I felt the story wanted to be about the plot, but it kept getting overwhelmed by the world-building. The use of language, though inventive and apt, still required more effort than I wanted to make... there was perhaps a little too much of it? Like a brocade that's so densely figured that it detracts from all the other characteristics of the fabric. The continuing talk about the fabrics didn't feel "insider" so much as "swallowed a textile encyclopedia." It was difficult to get involved enough to care; I remained a distant spectator, even though I liked the protagonist.

Takeaway:

That said, it also feels like one of those books where once you've understood the world, it's easier going. So I may well decide to read the sequel some time, and may enjoy it more.

This book was *very* visual. I can see movie rights in its future. And maybe a graphic novel if there isn't one already.
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Format: Paperback
Yarn is and isn't your ordinary cyberpunk story. Yarn is about Tane Cedar a master tailor and the story takes place in the world of fashion. My first thoughts were that this is outside my comfort reading zone but the stunning cover art and the blurb's talk about fashionpunk, saleswarriors and a love story reeled me in and I am very happy it did.

Like in most good stories it involves a woman. In this case an ex-lover who is on the run from the authorities when she comes to Tane late one night. "Where have you been? What happened? What are you wearing?" are his first questions because that is the kind of man he is. She tells him she is dying and asks him of a favor. She wants him to make her a garment of the illegal psychedelic Xi yarn to ease her last hours. He accepts before she disappears again and the rest of the book tells the story of how he goes about tracking down and acquiring the yarn to fulfill her last wish. The author portions out key pieces of Tane's past from his youth in the slums to yarn-thief to lover to fashion genius that ties in to and explains what is happening in the main story line. That worked very well for me here.

The story contains delightful black humor and Tane Cedar is an interesting character with an inner dignity to him throughout all his ordeals that makes him easy to love. The other characters are more superficial but there are some really interesting ones like Brunne the fashion dictator of Seattlehama, Vada his ex-lover revolutionary and a few more.

The world building is on par with the story and the characters. "Seattlehama: the volcano-powered sex and shopping capital of the world" is the name of a chapter and a good description of the setting.
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