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White Queen by Gwenyth Jones
Having finished White Queen, my overwhelming feeling is wonder. White Queen is such a profoundly interesting novel. From the initial pages I was struck by the lyrical beauty of the language. Like the many different characters, this novel switched back and forth from deep conversations and questions to stunning word combinations. It made me truly appreciate my reading of Samuel Delany’s description of a science fiction lens of reading. So I changed my imaginary glasses to my science fiction lenses and dived in.
This change in perspective was absolutely essential to my reading. The language was intricate, the science complicated (for a totally uneducated observer), and the story was richly detailed and philosophical. I was hooked from the beginning. This novel demanded time and introspection. Time because there are many characters, none who are unimportant and because every so often you have to put the book down and think.
The aliens broach the delicate line between terror and wonder, forcing us to question the strange within us. Even the nature of the word alien is so fragile, so up to interpretation and perspective. The novel interrogates the expanse of what it means to be ‘alien’ and ‘human’. It delves into the various reactions of the characters to their own alien-ness, confronted with the illusion of their own humanity. One of the beautiful strengths of the book is its ability to force the readers to see through alien eyes at their own alien qualities. We are all alienated. It explores subjects of identity, gender, humanity, rape, love and desire, as well as belief in ways that are fascinating and also discomforting. The readers are taken on the same psychological journey the characters undergo and this kindred bond is one of the reasons for our own philosophical growth. Each character is special and essential to the intricate plot. They emphasize the importance of personal growth.
I have not read a book as truly unique as the White Queen in a long time and this satisfied an ache I did not know I had. This book is full of thought, questions, and very few concrete answers. When I look back on the book after closing its final page, I am able to see the beauty of the interwoven strands of the plot and characters coming together. If you’ve gathered anything from my review you can tell that I found this book both beautiful and moving. It is a stunning piece of original work that forces the reader to navigate their feelings of difference and discomfort, knowing only too well that it is this space where true progress and change can occur. I am intrigued about what the next books have to offer. If you want to pick up a copy of this book here is the link to amazon!
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