Tuesday, March 15, 2016
"The Library at Mount Char" by Scott Hawkins
If you follow me on Goodreads, you may have seen me gush about this fantastic gem of a novel. My exact mid-book quote was "This is the most wonderful, weird adventure of a book I've read this year." The second half delivered, and I will be shocked if this book isn't on my best of the year list. When I finished it on audio, I wanted to go out and buy a copy and start reading it in print immediately (and can finally do so since it comes out in paperback today!).
It's a hard book to describe, and not knowing much about the plot served me well. It added to the general sense of wonder and mystery that permeated the book. But for the curious, a baseline plot: Carolyn lives in the Library with Father, who adopted her and her eleven siblings. Each sibling studies intensely under Father's instruction, specializing in a different area of study. They do not mix their studies. Yet recently, Father has gone missing. Carolyn must go to America, as the sibling who can acclimate best to Americans' customs and habits, and try to discover where he went and what are the implications for the Library and her siblings.
That summary makes the book sound far more linear and clear than it is, though. Hawkins drops you into the story, and you gradually learn about the siblings, their specializations, and the world they inhabit. Hence the sense of wonder and mystery. There's a great big dose of adventure and action, even if you don't always know how it connects to the Library right away. As the novel drives on, everything comes together in a tight, impeccably plotted conclusion.
Verdict: Affirmed. I loved this book & can't wait for others to read it so we can discuss. I look forward to reading what Scott Hawkins does next. Audio narration is also on point.
"The Library at Mount Char" by Scott Hawkins, published June 16, 2015 by Crown; audio narration by Hillary Huber, published June 16, 2015 by HighBridge.