Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Wild Shore - Kim Stanley Robinson

The Wild Shore
Title: The Wild Shore
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
Publication Date: 1984
Pages: 384
How I Found It: I can't remember, but it's been on my list a while.
Date Completed: 6/11/17

Summary: Set in an apocalyptic future California, Hank Fletcher is a young man who dreams of bigger things than those in his small fishing village. When men mysteriously arrive via railroad from San Diego, he finds himself on an unimaginable adventure.

What I Thought: This book was really interesting. Really...unique. Reading dystopian/apocalyptic books from several decades ago is always an interesting experience. The dystopia genre is so flooded now, mostly with books that fit into a very specific template. 

I didn't realize this book was from the early 80s when I picked it up, so it caught me off guard a bit. The style is different than what is mainstream in this genre now. It's not as flashy or formulaic. Rather, this book moved slower and was more character driven. The romantic relationships were not centralized. Instead, one of the strongest relationships explored in the book is between Hank and the oldest man in the village, who serves as sort of a secondary father and teacher to the young man. 

If you get tired of reading the same end-of-the-world literature repeatedly and would like something with a more literary feel, this book is a good pick. It drags at points and, as with many books which center around teenage boys, I had some light issues with the portrayal of women. I wanted more robust female characters. They weren't absent, but they didn't get the same attention as the boys. In this case, I could certainly make the argument that they were a casualty of plot and narrator. When they were there, I felt like I was seeing them through the eyes of teenage boys, not as fully formed, complex women. 

I really liked the whole idea of the Japanese guarding the coastline. I found that really interesting. The concept of America being internationally isolated after some massive attack is not a unique one, but I liked the way Robinson presented it. As is always the case with me, I would have loved more world-building and explanation, but the book really was more character focused than anything and I don't want to complain about that. 

Overall, I'm glad I finally picked this one up. It was different and a nice change from the other things I've been reading lately. If you've read the blog a while, you know my penchant for "seasonal" reading. In that mindset, this book felt more like an autumn or winter book to me, but people who don't have such hangups could enjoy it at any time of year.

Quote I Loved: "America was great like a whale - it was giant and majestic, but it stank and was a killer. Lots of fish died to make it so big."

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: I don't think so.
If You Liked This, Try: Gold Fame Citrus / Station Eleven / Lighthouse Island

A Reduced Review: Though slow at points, this apocalyptic novel centers on character development and is a nice change from the modern, formulaic additions to the genre. 

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