In late February/early March, when everything was juuust starting to fall apart, I read a lovely book that enveloped me in a comfy fantasy world, much like the warm honey that is one of its motifs. The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern’s sophomore novel, tells the story of… well, it tells a good number of stories. The throughline is Zachary, graduate student and son of a fortune teller, who is pulled inexorably towards The Starless Sea, a mysterious land full of stories, every story, all the stories.
Each of the book’s sections alternates chapters between Zachary and another text, often a storybook he has found. While it first seems like these are exposition dumps or thematically-appropriate asides, in the end it all weaves together to be a meditation on love, narrative, and the nature of stories. At its core, it is also a romance. Here is one example of an interleaved text, which should give you a good idea of whether you want to read the other pages; click through to see the end:
— ꧁Tynan꧂ (@TynanPants) February 22, 2020
Looking at reviews to jog my memory, now, I’m seeing that some readers found it weird, pretentious, and too intertextual. But I won’t let that stop me! Besides, I have a feeling there are more than a few weird, pretentious lit-crit types here. I can see where the reviewers are coming from, though. And it does take a little work, as with any non-linear narrative. So if you find such things off-putting… you have been warned. I’ll file this one under “it’s not for everyone, but it is for me.”
Consider this a recommendation thread for all your book, TV, movie, etc. needs! I’ve been watching Bosch, which one of you yokels recommended, and it’s pretty good. Going to start Homeland and Upload soon. What about you?