You know that feeling when you’ve read a book that’s so rich, so good, that you just know everything you are going to read for a while now is going to feel like fast food after fine cuisine?
That’s how I’m feeling right now. I think I’ll stick to non fiction for a while till that feeling edges off.
A Superior Spectre is a superior work. Inventive, creative, original, unique – but more than all of that combined. This is true literature, wrapped up in the speculative fiction genre. It makes you feel, but even more lovely – if you ask me – it makes you think. And then think some more…..
I don’t want to write anything spoilery about this. Readers should enjoy that journey for themselves, and there is no way I’m going to summarise it in any sense that would do it justice. But I do want to write about the experience of reading this work.
It’s a rare thing for a book to sit so perfectly in the contradiction of being both personal, intimate and immersive while at the same time being universal, philosophical and external, but this book does just that. As the two main characters become increasingly inter-twined by the plot’s neuroscience, I found myself haunted by them. And I think I will stay haunted for some time, most of all by how they both examined their own lives, their own feelings, with such acute insight.
It seemed the perfect pairing, no matter how much damage the manner of the connection might have caused. In her two protagonists Angela Meyer created an effortless symbiosis. I am not sure if it was intentional, but both characters were inward explorers. The woman wished to understand the inner workings of the human form. The man wanted to excavate and maybe eventually conquer his own deeply hidden heart and desires. They both looked inward, and drew us in.
I love writing like this. I want writing that will take me outside of myself, then back within myself – something that makes me compare the fictional with my own reality. I think literature serves that purpose for us – it does more than entertain. It enlightens us, showing us something about ourselves through the lens of others. And while this novel definitely entertains – it also provides that ‘something more’ that lifts it above just its story.
Put simply, this book is superb. It will satisfy lovers of speculative fiction/science fiction and even the supernatural, for it has elements of all. But it will also satisfy those who favour reality and psychology rather than magic and fantasy. That’s just another of the contradictions it so effortlessly seems to balance. For me, I love both types of books, so it was perfect all round.
I look forward to reading other works by Angela Meyer. What an exciting new voice to discover!