Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Origin of Species by Nino Ricci

This novel was an interesting and intelligent work that succeeds in the presentation of a character’s introspection and self-analyses. The Origin of Species has academic themes running throughout, without being tedious or negatively esoteric. As readers of this blog can imagine, I was happy to seeing scientific, evolutionary and political themes recur, as well as identified with issues surrounding academia. Unfortunately, there are times when the plot is not as compelling and a reader would be forgiven for not becoming overtly attached to the protagonist. It was smarter than most novels and a decent read overall (I didn’t say a ‘good’ read because it seems I am less interested in fiction in general as of late – but the reduced rating is probably a personal issue).

I did like this book, but I felt most of the Galapagos segment in the middle was not compelling. It was probably the weakest part of the book. Additionally, I was a bit disappointed with the book. Perhaps this is because it was better at the beginning or that the Galapagos segment in the middle tainted things, but I sometimes found myself not quite caring what happened to Alex. Given that I have experienced academia, like evolution, and taught ESL, the first sections of the book made me think “I am Alex.” But I guess things began to diverge later.Again, it was smart, but I felt less connected to Alex and the fellow characters, despite the fact that they were well described and deep enough that you felt they were whole people. The writing was decent to good, but not consistently superb.


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