The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi

24 Jul


Although i do read them, I’m not much of a sci-fi books fan. More of a consumer than a sci-fi book lover. So, even though i bought it on 22 August 2011 it took me almost two years to make the decision and move this little book from the Goodreads to-read shelf to the one just above it, the Read shelf. What i want to emphasize with this pointless intro is how not of a big sci-fi fan i am and whether this affected my enjoyment of The Windup Girl.

It did and it didn’t.

“The cynical part of him supposes that it hardly matters. The intricate stamps that glitter in the sun are more talismanic than functional, something to make people feel secure in a dangerous world.”

Whenever sci-fi writers start describing worlds, machines or species they usually lose me. For one thing i don’t have the imagination (and knowledge if you like) to follow what they are saying and i don’t command the english language well enough to understand what they are trying to say. That’s how The Windup Girl was in the beginning for me.

Fortunately, it picked up from there. Letting go of the futuristic machines and species and introducing the characters in the story one by one and how they come to interact with one another. I can’t say i found all of these characters particularly fascinating apart from two (no, i am not going to spoil it further for you with my bias).

However, i did appreciate the writer’s emphasis on scenes with lengthy, mostly engrossing conversations. This is usually with what i associate a great tv series. A good conversation. Also, the setting of a future Thailand and the geography around it was quite unique for me. Now whenever Thailand comes up The Windup Girl inevitably will too and vice versa.

“All New Japanese are fast. You have mistaken the question to ask. How they use their innate abilities is a question of training, not of their physical capabilities. Hiroko has been trained from birth to pace herself appropriately, with decorum.”

There’s a good story here. Simple, yet gripping and it grapples with ideas and questions which are relevant today. There is hype around this book and i approached it with relatively high expectations. It’s not the best sci-fi book i’ve read. Far from it. This contributed to my initial disappointment. However, as i continued reading it i realised it was not hype. It was affection and that’s how i will remember The Windup Girl.

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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Books


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