A photographer returns to a near-future Britain after the death of his wife in a terrorist incident in Afghanistan. And finds that the IRGB has, itself, been suffering terrorist attacks. But no-one knows quite what is happening or how. Just that there are similarities between what killed the photographer's wife and what happened in West London. Soon he is drawn into a hall of mirrors at the heart of government. In the First World War a magician is asked to travel to the frontline to help a naval aerial reconnaissance unit hide its planes from the German guns. On the way to France he meets a certain H.G. Wells. In the Second World War on the airfields of Bomber Commands there is also an obsession with camouflage, with misdirection. With deceit. And in a garden, an old man raises a conch shell to his ear and initiates the first Adjacency.
Christopher Priest's novels have built him an inimitable dual reputation as a contemporary novelist and a leading figure in modern SF and fantasy. His novel The Prestige is unique in winning both a major literary prize (The James Tait Black Award and a major genre prize The World Fantasy Award); The Separation won both the Arthur C. Clarke and the British Science Fiction Awards. He was selected for the original Best of Young British Novelists in 1983.
on how to stretch a limited plot line? Write a story presenting multiple viewpoints of the same events, then skew the event slightly and rewrite. I must admit that he writes very evocatively, but of nothing. There is no "there" there once you get to the end. He writes well enough that I finished, but I don't feel any better for having done so.
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Any additional comments?
I love stories set in two time periods but this outshines them being set in the first and second world wars as well as the war which is set in the future.
I found it easy to follow as there are eight parts to the story, the main character tebor being the focus on every other part. it all comes together at the end as all good stories should.
john banks did a good job performing the book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
It starts out with promise and intrigue but half way through bogs down into interminable trivia and a torturous obsessing over Spitfires. I found this unbearable and pointless. It may be that the multiple questions raised in the first half are answered at the end but I can't see any conclusion that would justify the investment, so I am forced to leave this offering three quarters finished. In this way, after four novels, I also take my leave of Christopher Priest as an author, who in every book seems unable to capitalise on a compelling start, the tension dissipating as the narrative runs out of steam and loses its way.
Would you consider the audio edition of The Adjacent to be better than the print version?
I am a big reader and audio book fan and I can confidently say this well constructed novel is the best I have come across in 30 years of Airport bookshops.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Adjacent?
construction of theatre it is contained in
What about John Banks’s performance did you like?
easy confident reader
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Stop the waste of our worlds resources
Any additional comments?
What would have made The Adjacent better?
Sticking to a narration - leave out ALL the dialogue and "character" development.
What was most disappointing about Christopher Priest’s story?
The story is never given a chance, I think that there is a really good story in there trying to get out. Every time we start to get into the story . . . .wham. More wooden dialogue and really really plastic people.
What aspect of John Banks’s performance might you have changed?
Overall he has promise. Just a little overdone - it was good to change style for different time frames but sometimes it sounded like Jeeves and Wooster. And the Polish girl . . . argh! 'Elo 'elo it's was all I could do to stop myself turning off. What a show of willpower! It stopped being funny and became painful. Worse because, really totally unnecessary and unwanted in the story. Big sigh of relief when we get back to straight narrative, very good expression.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Adjacent?
Get rid of all the "carved from ebony" dialogue. It was really awful. This is a strange and interesting tale and while one often needs to suspend belief in many a good tale it is important to be able to believe in the characters. Characterization was very forced and produced unrealistic people who detracted rather than adding. They were really annoying!
Any additional comments?
Ok, so I haven't finished this book yet. I will persevere, maybe. It is reflection of the book that I have felt like writing a review before finishing it. It is a long book and . . . . .chapter 10 from 40 . . . . .oh, do I have to finish it? I will try, there is something in there that may be good but do I have the patience to sort the jumble out. Did I say it was very jumbled?
A series of somewhat connected tales- although as a listener it was hard to gather the threads together- and some of them just seemed to go nowhere. The writer uses a variety of literary tricks and techniques in an attempt to make the story more dynamic- but they seem to fall flat. It wasn't awful, it was just a bit flat.
A couple of hours from the end is the following passage:
"Even though most of the turns were noisy and filled with singing or acts of physical exertion, and made attempts to provide a spectacle, I felt uninvolved and started to drift mentally; thinking about how much I wanted to depart from this island and return to my own life"
When he wrote that he showed his first real insight into how I was feeling.
I wish him all success in his future writing, but "The Adjacent", I'm afraid, wasn't for me.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful