Daily Archives: November 1, 2011

BOOK CLUB: Half the Day is Night by Maureen McHugh

So, grab your books and let’s all get to reading ’em.

HALF THE DAY IS NIGHT by Maureen McHugh, her second novel after she won copious awardage for CHINA MOUNTAIN ZHANG is supposed to be another close, intimate portrayal of the people who live a few days or weeks ahead of the moment we live in, and I’m expecting great things.

As we go, feel free to leave comments and I’ll pull up any interesting ones into this post.

Spiral sez:
I’m very much enjoying the story, particularly the not-overly-obtrusive-but-still-amazingly-well-done world-building. Mchugh’s created a future that I doubt she could’ve known in 1994 would so eerily resemble the sort of thing we’re actually headed toward or are already in (though perhaps corporations and banks were as mixed up then as now – I was but a wee lad in ’94, naive, and not so world-weary…okay, I’m still naive, but…). The depth of the main characters – David and Mayla – is great. She really gets in their heads, from Mayla’s nervousness over-analyzing on her “date” with Saad to David’s desire to leave Caribe and his denial to come to grips with his violent past.

I’ve read enough SF that I don’t think this is the kind of novel that’ll be replete with explosions and high-octane action; maybe some, but to me, it feels more like a slow burn, kind of like the film Michael Clayton or an Elmore Leonard novel set a few years in the future.[/quote]

I’m getting close to the end, and I like the Elmore Leonard reference as things do pick up. I love the world-building, and the unobtrusiveness of it. The setting doesn’t have the “OMG LOOK AT THAT COOL THING!” quality of a Rucker or Doctorow or Gibson or Stirling novel. Instead, it is a reflection/refraction of the character’s lives and dramas. It is a way of enhancing the drama, not a distraction from it. Very well done.

I’ve also heard that she is in Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten for her latest collection, and this is absolutely unsurprising to anyone who has encountered McHugh’s work, anywhere, anywhen.

I’m loving the heck out of this book.


Filed under Book club, half the day is night