lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2014

Acceptance, by Jeff VanderMeer

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Changes by David Bowie (Spotify, Youtube). 

Change. Oddly enough, the only constant throughout The Southern Reach Trilogy is change. The Area X is, in fact, the perfect metaphor for traumatic change. Unexpected, incomprehensible, unstoppable. It will transform you, and your whole life, whether you want it or not. It really doesn't care. You can deny it all you want. You can try and fight it. Or even bargain with it. But after you've realized that there is nothing you can do, after you think all is lost and begin to feel completely desperate, there is only exit: acceptance.  

Change being the main theme of Annihilation, Authority and, especially, Acceptance, it is only appropriate that the author changes, once again, his voice and style in this novel. In this book, you will find the first and third person narrators of the previous installments and, also, other, new narrators, including one in the second person. You will also find flashbacks, detours, surprises, monsters and, even, some answers to the big questions posed by Area X. 

Do not expect, however, everything to be explained clearly and in all detail. If you've reached this point in the trilogy you will know that that is not what this is all about. But even if Acceptance won't give easy answers, it surely gives (quite a satisfying) closure, at least from my interpretation of "change" (and its acceptance, of course) as the main topic VanderMeer wants to address here. It might be a cliché to say that the third book in a trilogy is the Hegelian synthesis of the previous ones, but I think that, both thematically and stylistically, it is certainly true in this case.
 
This also means that readers that struggled (as was my case) with the change of pace and focus in Authority will find some parts of Acceptance not entirely to their taste. Personally, I enjoyed it more than Authority, but I cannot help feeling that it doesn't completely live up to the expectations raised by Annihilation.

All in all, I recommend reading Acceptance if only to appreciate how VanderMeer manages again to produce a novel that is different from the others in the trilogy, yet inextricably linked to them in many ways. And also, of course, because this is one the books that will be more talked about in the next few months (if not years). But you already knew that, didn't you?

(You can also read this review in Spanish/También puedes leer esta reseña en español)

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