Some writers I love for their biting irreverant satire, like Vonnegut, Swift and Twain. Some writers I love for their opulent, vivid use of language, like Tom Robbins and Robert Anton Wilson. And some I love for the sheer inventiveness of their storytelling, like Neil Gaiman and Michael Chabon.
Nick Harkaway managed all of the above in his first novel, "The Gone Away World" (TGAW).
Therefore, I was both looking forward to - and dreading - Harkaway's second work, "Angelmaker". It seemed like I would almost certainly be disappointed.
I wasn't: if anything, "Angelmaker" represents a tighter, more focused narrative - while maintaining the strengths that made TGAW such a joy. Furthermore, "Angelmaker" isn't hampered by a contrived plot twist that was a sour note for me in TGAW.
As with TGAW, "Angelmaker" flits between genres with ease: is it spy thriller? Sort of. A mystery? Kind of. A sci-fi adventure? A bit. A gangster tale? Somewhat. It really defies category, and that's one of Harkaway's gifts… he plays with the tropes of genre without being constrained by them, and the results are delightful. Finally, Harkaway's characters are rich and amusing, and their dialogue frequently sparkles.
Both of the Audible versions of the books are deftly narrated: some of the best performances among my (several dozen) audiobooks. The narrators are able to breathe life into the character's voices, helping you enjoy them as the distinct personalities that they are.
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