Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Sammie, Apr 24, 2003.
Oooppss.......discussion now open!!
I'd like to say firstly , what a beautiful , well written book this is !
I think the thing that caught my attention the most was how alive the characters personallities were . The book had the feeling that you were reading about real people , sharing their greif and happiness on a much deeper level than I have come to expect from other writers .
I think what I'm trying to say is I was totally captive to the prose (almost poetic) and the way Kay handled dialogue between characters . It will be interesting to see who you thought the bad if not tragic characters were , I already have mine picked out.
BTW excellent ending
I read Tigana many years ago, and was struck by the fact that compared to what was in the ascent at that time, it was a truly mature work aimed at adults- the complexity of the characters and their motivations, more than the sex and violence.
In many ways it was and is quite a daring novel, because it is unremittingly grim for the most part.
First few pages don't bode well. There's too much description and the author breaks off all the time to tell you absolutely everything. I don't feel like struggling through 700(?) pages like I did with tEotW and then coming out thinking life is too short to read books like these.
...It isn't an example of easy-to-read 'pop' fantasy, that's for sure. It can be heavy going.
Sirand , I promise you that after the 100th page or so you won't put the book down . It struggles at first to find it's feet then it's like going from crawling straight to running ! As for the mention of tEoTW in the same breath , well , there can be no comparision .
Being easy-to-read is not a crime. I'm not saying it is too complex, just badly written, which is why I mentioned tEotW.
I might try and read a little more of Tigana but i've got quite a large 'to-be-read' pile.
Yes yes! Do stick with it. I struggled with it at first, but soon I was frustrating my wife for constantly reading it.
I totally agree, Nevyn! Kay's prose is very poetic--I also read "The Lions of Al-Rassan" (I think that is the title) quite a while ago and was caught by the rich description. The world and the characters could almost be real, with the gritty non-happily-ever-after feel of this present life. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to read as much as I'd like, so I haven't finished the book yet.
Sirand, I'd say give it until about page 50 or so before you call it quits. The political intricacy of the story requires a long set-up, but then events begin to move.
I would have to disagree. I am at close to page 400 and it doesn't get any better. It is just one long slog and I am going into my third or more week with this book. I just find it hard to keep reading. Maybe I am too old to enjoy the premise of the book. When I was younger the idea of all this glory and fighting for the idea of your homeland was interesting, now I just keep thinking of stupid macho gang-bangers who abandon their families because they think their colors have been dissed, and off they go to wreak death and destruction on everyone.
I too read and loved The Lions of al-Rassan, and this is not in the same league. This was the book where I think he first tried to do what he did in 'Lions'. The basis for Lions is Moorish Spain, and the basis here is Italy before it became a country. This book was published something like 6 years before 'Lions' and judging between the quality of the two -- he did a lot of growing in those six years. Its not the worst I have ever read, but it is waaay tooo long.
Tigana was the 3rd book I've read by GGK, and it didn't disapoint. I love his writing style, characters and story. He seems to be able to create very emotional ties between the story and reader. The ending could have been a little better, maybe he should have just left it end after the battle when they were on the hill.
At the end, who do you think is blessed, forks or dies?
Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is a total mis-reading of the plot?
IMO one of the themes is to explore exaclty how obsessive some kinds of nationalism can be... I don't think the various revolutionary characters are depicted in a golden fashion: the opposite, if anything.
It's long. There's enough in there for two books, not one.
The baron dies, the prince is blessed and Devon's life forks IMO.
Their pride is an important part of the story though, it's part of what made up the character and identity of the home they've been robbed of. When I read that book I almost wished someone would do that to Canada, just because I think a lot of Canadians don't appreciate what they've got enough.
In what way do you feel the book is poorly written? Kay's extra touches are what I find make the books so moving.
No it is not a misreading of the plot, just a misunderstanding of my post.
What I have read so far: Baerd abandons his family, Alessan abandons his mother, Diannora abandons her vegetative mother -- they all leave to pursue some sort of revenge or plan to restore Tigana, which they feel is more important than their flesh and blood relatives, and the broken city-state which needs them to pitch in and work to rebuild it.
It is much easier to go off pursuing some golden dream of revenge and restoring past perfection, which is what motivates them all (seeking glory) -- even though they may live rather grubbily and have to get bloody and dirty to do it.
Devin who has no memory of ever being there is corrupted throughout the story into the golden dream of a past that he has never experienced !
They are all more interested in the idea of the thing - the perfect Tigana, than the reality of it -fixing broken Tigana, or their families. And the whole name business (Lower Corte causes them all to go into a physical and emotional fit) just strikes me as childish macho BS. They don't have to overwhelm to win, just endure, to quote Sun-Tzu "If you sit by the stream long enough, eventually the body of your enemy floats by".
I can’t buy the 'exploring obsessive nationalism theme', when that is the only view point of the major characters in the book. But so far it is. I think you need to have another voice to offset it, to show another way, and you certainly have to show the consequences of the choices you make. So far they only look sadly at the corpses of the people they are ‘forced’ to kill. The bound wizard is a minor voice calling out for justice, and frankly his situation makes it very hard for me to see any of the main characters in his party as worth spending any time with.
On top of that Diannora's sudden decision to do in her King, when she has been vacillating for years between love/lust/family honor/ethnic responsibility, because of a momentary pique of sexual jealousy cheapens the story even more. Especially when she seems bent on using Scelto, and probably dooming him just by proximity and association to be killed for her crime. She professes to love him, and to feel regret at how his life was destroyed by the authorities, but she will do even worse.
I just don't actually care about anyone still alive so far. I am not real interested in what happens next, in terms of the story, because I find the whole thing pretty repulsive. I mostly feel bad for those caught in the crossfire between the questing idiots and the evil overlords. The people both sides kill and use for their own goals.
I liked the interlude in the village with Baerd and the Night Walkers, and with Rovigo and his family at home but so far the bad interludes: the first scene in the Tavern, most of Devin's story, the pointless sexual encounter with the woman in the castle, everything about Catarina, Diannora's past story, seem to out number the good. I will finish the book, but unless the main characters are suddenly all killed or remade by some kind of plague I don't hold out hope for it getting any better.
Is this story really two books, or just one book lacking focus: too many POV characters, and too much hoping around ?
They can't win by endurance. Brandin intends to live until everyone born in Tigana is dead. They can't pass the name on to their children or anyone else they meet, so once the likes of Devin's generation are gone then Tigana is truly gone.
They're not leaving their families just for any old city state, but to stop what is effectively their past from being erased. Also, they make it clear that although they want Tigana to be remembered once more, they also want to take down both tyrants - they fight for freedom - not just Tigana - or just Brandin would be enough.
I loved the book, and since reading it (and during) I have a strange urge to shout or whisper 'Tigana' every so often which leads to very strange looks from the husband.
I believe that this was a perfect way of saying "and life goes on" , for once someone had the courage to end their novel not a la fairytale (or however else you say it)
FicusFan , the people of Tigana were a devestated people . They were totally smashed and their pride taken from them . Brandin had in effect enslaved the people and made them second class citizens . And you say you would have sat by the stream and waited for your enemy to float by . Sure you would !
As for Dianora , she really needed a good slapping but I think she realised this .
no such thing as pointless sex with women in castles
Exactly!! Just think about living under a dictatorship for that long. It would make you want to leave your family to do something about it. Though I have never experienced this first hand, I am sure that the dread one feels when being oppressed in that manner, that all you can do is rise up. Even if it has to be all cloak and dagger.
I don't think it was childish macho BS that they would leave their families to make a better life. Now though not the best analogy, but would you say the same thing about the French underground during WWII? They wanted better lives, for all the Palm nations. Alessan is even chided by his mother for not taking up arms immediately and defeating Brandin. Because he is looking at the whole of the problem. And if the name if Tigana can be made free in the prossess, then that's bonus.
OK, this is interesting. I think we interpet what Kay is conveying in a different way. I feel that Kay is depicting their desperate attempts to restore Tigana in a way that empasises what you are talking about: the sacrifices, the ridiculous fact of a man giving up good things in his life to avenge a non-existent country...
Sure, this comes across in the text, the 'macho' aspect: but that's part of Kay's point, isn't it? Their heroics are irony-heavy.
Fair enough, if you don't see it, you don't see it (I don't mean that in a condescending way, maybe it is just me). But the obsessive/negative aspects of the protagonists, their dysfunctional nature and how Kay highlights it, is what really stands out in this book for me.
Yeah, but that's the point! You're not supposed to like 'em, this isn't a fairy tale with happy endings... it's gritty, there are no good guys.
Of course they can. Where is the Soviet Union, where are any of the east bloc communist states today ? Just because their little corner of the world may end up being called 'lower podunk' rather than 'east overshoe' does not mean the people and their culture no longer exist.
If the people who want to restore Tigana are so all fired up about saving the name why aren't they writing the books that will live on after they and the wizards are dead, and everyone will again be able to read and hear the word Tigana ?
So who is taking care of Diannora's mad mother in the rubble of the city, after she and her brother Baerd have abandoned her ? Do you really think their father, the artist from the prolog, thought I can die happy knowing eventually my children will abandon my crazy wife, their mother, and go off to fight the battle I am about to lose ?
History is written by the winners and then mythologized, in all likely hood the 'past' they are rushing off to save is no more real than the name Lower Corte. You make the future by doing hard work and protecting your family, not running away when reality gets tough.
Alessan has become, so far, the same type of tyrant as Brandon, the difference is one of scale. He enslaves the other wizard, kills people who get in his way or threaten his plans. I thought burning a stable with horses in it was a nice touch, it apparently takes them much longer to die from the fire because of their size, and they scream so well the whole time.
His plan to sacrifice an entire province, Senzio, is exaclty what the tyrants did when they invaded. They took what they wanted because it was more important to them than the lives and happiness of the people already living there.
It appears Alessan is fighting for freedom by doing nasty, evil awful destructive things to other people, but its ok because its for a good cause ?
Glad you enjoyed it, but we didn't have the same reading experience or the same reaction to the reading.
First of all sitting by the stream doesn't mean you can't be doing other things while you are waiting, there are many ways to fight and to resist. Second people who have other mundane, difficult, family responsibllities should not be rushing off anywhere, especially when the place is so devastated that day to day survival is difficult. Finally their reason for fighting Brandon struck me as nothing more than being pissed that someone 'dissed their colors', which is a trivial reason to run off and leave your mad mother to probably die.
They all needed a good slapping. Repeatedly
I was speaking about the content of the book, I have no wish to ask you to part with your cherished fantasies, or make any drastic change to your lifestyle
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