01 January 2015
Review: The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing
The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing by Nicholas Rombes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Probably closer to a 4.5.
I really liked this book, although the word I'd prefer to use for it is "unsettling" rather than strange or weird. It's unsettling in the way Night Film stuck to me, but without some of the elements in that book. It's structured like a story of an interview of a filmmaker, Laing, but there are some dark undertones both to the work and to the results.
I say it's unsettling because you never fully get the whole idea, but the scenes painted and the concepts discussed just leave you with that weird sense of dread and negativity that doesn't quite want to shake off. The payoff? Who am I to say, really, except that closing the book felt both stress-relieving and unfortunate, as I didn't have to experience what I was experiencing, but still wanted to know and experience more.
If there are flaws here, I could quibble about the execution a bit. The book feels much longer than its under-200 pages, and the literary undertones don't exactly work, resulting in a narrative that feels a little heavier than it needs to (even if it works well within the basic concept).
Overall, I wouldn't have found this without a recommendation from Jeff VanderMeer, and it's a book that really encapsulated a lot of things I was looking for. This won't be for everyone, but you'll know pretty quickly if it's for you.
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