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Palimpsest | [Catherynne M. Valente]

Palimpsest

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse - a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers.
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Publisher's Summary

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse - a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night.

To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important -- a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.

©2010 Catherynne M. Valente (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Outstandingly beautiful prose.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (69 )
5 star
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Overall
3.7 (41 )
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Story
4.0 (43 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 08-09-15
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 08-09-15 Member Since 2015

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4318
    ratings
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    Story
    "Excellent Prose, but lacks maturity"

    I enjoyed the language, imagery, characterization and flow of this book, yet it also continually seemed to me written for a young adult audience. Perhaps when I was a much younger self I would have found the eroticism titillating, shocking, and discomforting in turns, however at my age and experience, I found sexual content rather bland. I much preferred the author’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which had a much better balance.

    There is a lot to like in this novel as it tries to create a world of fascinating mystery and dreamlike imagery, and it often does, but for me the spell was repeatedly broken, making the overall experience less than fully satisfying.

    There is a significant amount of sexual content and situations that are rather mild, yet would be quite offensive to many, and would be inappropriate for younger readers.

    The narration was excellent throughout.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzan TX 09-07-10
    Suzan TX 09-07-10 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
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    331
    26
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    3
    3
    Overall
    "Could not even finish"

    I listen to this for close two 2 hours and it makes no sense I finally gave up and started listening to something else talk about a weird book. I just don't get this book. wasted my money cause I bought this one without a credit.

    3 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra 06-18-14
    Alexandra 06-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    13
    3
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    Story
    "not erotic"
    What disappointed you about Palimpsest?

    It was hard to follow.
    There is no erotic atmosphere.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Catherynne M. Valente again?

    probably not


    Any additional comments?

    It is poetic, no doubt, but there seems to be no real Story. I stopped listening after 2 hours. I think by that time one should be into a book. If not, I do not torture myself.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Serene Night 04-27-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Overly wordy"

    Wow, I loathed this one. Despite having my favorite narrator Aasne, this novel was simply too wordy and too fantastic to be believed. I was disappointed. The plot synopsis was intriguing but don't be fooled. The writing was very affected and irksome.

    0 of 7 people found this review helpful

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