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|Length: 308 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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That being said I have to admit that this is an accurate picture of the darker side of nowadays’ society. The lighter narrative shows the pettiness and selfishness that goes around and illustrates how skewed some perceptions are and how biased people have become. Each story presents people at their worst and how they spill their dissatisfaction and happiness finding pleasure in making someone else unhappy or humiliated. The darker narrative shows that human life lost any kind of value. What seems to be important is the satisfaction one can get in the blink of an eye.
It seemed extremely interesting how various people’s paths intersect and how most of them feel better once they manage to diminish, bully, insult or kill another human being.
Characters are interesting even though the author doesn’t waste too much time to depict them. They’re developed enough to drive the message home.
I liked the complete circle opened and closed with the vet who is the only one who is able to make an altruistic gesture and put a huge price on someone else’s life, not that his own mattered for anyone. The ending paragraph is the best conclusion for this book. To avoid spoilers, I will refrain from quoting it reads like a summary of the ideas presented throughout the book.
This is not an easy read and not for someone who’d prefer to see puppies, butterflies and flowers. Yet, I repeat: good narrative, interesting circumstances, catching characters
I understand this is Bloke’s first book. I must say: congrats, Mr. Bloke and please, continue to write. You do show genuine talent.
The novel is basically a bunch of loosely connected stories. The veteran can probably be considered the main character, but there are numerous other characters that get plenty of scenes. The story jumps from viewpoint to viewpoint and moves through time as Berg delves into each person's fears, selfish desires, quirks, and fetishes. Most of the characters are self-absorbed scumbags, only stepping out from their grimy bubble when they're absolutely forced to. Any epiphanies they have come far too late to be of any use.
The prose is usually detailed without being dense. Berg is a careful observer, showing us things we see or consider every day but may not really think about. Even at its most outlandish and allegorical, there's a hard realism to the novel; this isn't something that's floated down to us from an Ivory Tower, but a piece of muck tossed from an open sewer.
I actually found myself chuckling as Berg roasted some of society's sacred cows. It was refreshing to see an author tackle subject matter that most people skirt around because it's “politically incorrect,” “mean-spirited,” or whatever.
There are some drawbacks, however. The plot is predictable; by the halfway point, you'll most likely know how each scene is going to end. I understand the point Berg is trying to make, but he could have thrown in some variation and still hammered home the idea.
I also thought the middle portion of the novel was lackluster. Berg throws a lot of craziness, violence, and filth onto the page, but it seems like he's just going wild for the sake of going wild. I preferred the relatively controlled (if that word even works for a novel of this type) scenes in the beginning and end of the story; these scenes really shine, with solid pacing and still plenty of acerbic social commentary.
Finally, I thought the dialogue was weak in some areas, and it was sometimes difficult to follow the thread of the narrative. I occasionally found myself wondering who did what to who or what had exactly happened to a particular character.
After reading this, I'm intrigued to see what Berg will do next. “Indifference” is already a thorough critique of modern society; what else is left to lambast? Berg says he's not going away, though, so I guess we'll just have to wait for the next bomb to drop.
Written confidently and from several perspectives, Indifference barrels along at pace introducing the reader to a myriad of characters, none of whom are in any way redeemable, but all the richer for their black spirits.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I felt that at times it lacked focus and that many of the plotlines were left unresolved or ended in an unsatisfactory manner. There were moments also where I felt the characters lacked a little depth and some scenes were motiveless set pieces utilised to convey actions without motives. For me, a clearer plotline would’ve assisted, but really, these are minor quibbles and didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the book. On a second reading, I suspect I may discover that I’ve grown to love these little imperfections, like the crack and hiss of vinyl.
What Indifference has in spades is insolence. That this is a first novel from Berg speaks volumes for the potential he has to develop into a very creative, and skilled writer. Berg has all the tools, and the creativity, to be a force in the genre. I look forward to seeing him employ what he has learned from writing Indifference on his next project.
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Reading this book is like being a fly on the wall, watching bad things...Read more