Gibson’s “Spook Country”

  Spook Country, Gibson, William

I’ve been a fan of Gibson since discovering Neuromancer twenty years ago. A lot of people whose opinions I value have had great things to say about Spook Country and it’s been on the NY Times best seller list for a number of weeks. It even has it’s own Wikipedia entry.

Perhaps I am simply insufficiently sophisticated or old-fashioned in my literary tastes, but I struggled to finish it. I can’t entirely put my finger on why. For one thing, the parallel story lines felt so wildly disconnected from one another, that the implicit promise that they would connect at the end kept interfering with my ability to immerse myself in the flow. For another, I never managed to connect with any of the characters. Finally, in some strange way, I found that the clear skill and craft of Gibson’s writing kept intruding itself on me, instead of drawing me into the story itself.

Fundamentally, Spook Country, for all of its commercial success and glowing reviews isn’t one of Gibson’s best efforts. Interestingly, I found the mixed reviews at Amazon to be more representative of my experience with the book than the “official” reviews elsewhere.

3 thoughts on “Gibson’s “Spook Country””

  1. Basic, and perhaps, stupid question.

    Did you read Pattern Recognition first ?

    I did not. I made the mistake of reading Spook Country first, and THEN Pattern Recognition. I think Spook Country is effectively a sequel, and enjoyment / understanding would increase if I had read in reverse order.

  2. I did read Pattern Recognition, but I suspect it was too long between reads to benefit from that. I agree that Spook Country is effectively a sequel to Pattern Recognition. I would have preferred some marketing effort to make that clear, but then, I suppose it wouldn’t have sold quite as well.

  3. Aha ..

    I too would have preferred knowing that it was a sequel. I would have then read Pattern Recognition first. As it happened, I probably got less out of each book by reading them in the wrong order 😉

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