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A Creature of Moonlight
Rebecca Hahn
Saffron And Brimstone: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
Lois McMaster Bujold
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Kseniya Melnik
The Carpet Makers - Andreas Eschbach, Doryl Jensen Eschbach is apparently very well-regarded in his native Germany, and has won awards in multiple European countries - but this is his first book to be translated into English and published here. If 'The Carpet Makers' is any indication of the quality of his other works, I hope that English editions of his other books are on the way!
The novel is formed in a series of vignettes or separate short stories - which can sometimes, I feel, be an awkward, clunky way of doing things - I've read 'novels' like that before and felt that they were very 'cobbled together.' I didn't feel that way about this one at all. The 'flow' between scenes was very smooth, and each new vignette gave the reader one more piece of the big picture, forming an extreme tension as the revelation of just how terribly dire the scene being revealed truly is...
The book starts small... with just one family, a family of traditional hair carpet makers, the patriarch spending his entire life to make just one carpet from the hair of his wives and daughters, allowed to have only one son to train to take on his craft...
The scene seems harsh, the society repressive... (and that first 'story' packs a punch and a half!) but as the book goes on, the focus widens, until a galactic scenario is shown, and the book talks not only about one restrictive society, but the horrific pettiness of tyranny...
Knowing the author is German, it is hard not to draw parallels with the sci-fi criticism in this book with condemnations of the third reich, but I'm not sure I would have made that connection if I had not already been thinking about Germany...
Either way, really a wonderful book - emotional, well-written, structurally near-perfectly crafted, thoughtful. Highly recommended.