Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars

The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars
The Sun, the Moon, & the Stars by Steven Brust

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What do you call a book that's a mix of Hungarian folklore and a peek into the lives of fictional modern artists? I got as far as "fiction", and "very very good"; you're on your own after that.

This was short (~200 pp - and I mean that as a compliment not a complaint) excellently-well-written, and full of interesting characters. It made me feel like I might start to understand some of what it is to be an artist, without all of that tedious learning to practice an art first. It doesn't really go anywhere much, but it doesn't feel like it needs to. The link between Hungarian folklore and modern art is almost nonexistent - it really just seems like two unrelated stories written down next to each other at times - but they compliment one another somehow in a way that pleased me, but which I find difficult to pin down. (And given Greg's struggles in the book with describing what "art is", I suppose that's a bit ironic.)

For some strange reason, after finishing this last night while barely still awake, I dreamt a different ending to it. I'm not sure what that ending was (though I think it might have involved Greg dying, which seems like a cheap gimmicky idea now, by the light of day) but at the time it seemed like the most brilliant thing ever. I'd half composed a rapturous review (in my dream) exhorting everyone to read it but not to read any reviews, for fear of spoiling the ending. The real ending is much less climactic, and much less tacky, but I still heartily recommend this.

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