“Sleeping Giants” by Slyvain Neuvel

SLEEPING_GIANTS_cover

“Sleeping Giants” got a lot of press when it came out. It was proclaimed as original and engaging Science Fiction and so I immediately downloaded a copy of the audiobook. It then sat in my TBR pile until I realised the sequel has been published and I still hadn’t read the first book.

I bumped it to the top of the pile when my next long drive came up and was astonished by how good it was.

The story is told in the form of direct speech or reports/correspondence by the main characters. In the audiobook version, each characters lines are given by a different narrator. When two of the main characters are talking to each other, it felt like listening to a clever radio play.

The plot is original and the way it is revealed is intriguing. The female characters in particular have strong voices that make you either admire or despise them. There’s lots of wit and sume surprising twists and turns. These given maximum effect by the practice of jumping over major events unexpectedly and then disclosing them through interrogation. The actors did a great job, including the inherently unlikable “nameless man”.

I listened to the first four hours or so, completely taken up by the story and this narrative form. By the time I was on the sixth hour of this eight hour book,  I’d been reminded of why the novel superseded the play. My imagination began to rebel against and all-dialogue diet and I found myself longing for descriptions and an authorial voice to give this tale more texture.

I enjoyed the book and I’ve bought the sequel. It will make a great movie, partly because it is already almost a movie script. As a novel it isn’t as satisfactory as I’d like it to be. As a play, it evokes some powerful images of places and events and features some very believable dialog but it is a little too long

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