on Oct. 10, 2013 :
Interesting how topics can be approached in a multitude of manners by talented authors. I recently finished The Windup Girl, which, like Dag, draws upon serious subjects such as GMOs, mega-corporations, military domination, etc. The Windup Girl maintained gravitas which gave its characters depth and the overall experience an art house film ambiance, much like Bladerunner.
Dag takes a more absurd, surreal approach which provides light, imaginative entertainment, like Buffy, The Vampire Slayer or one of those B films that are hysterical at midnight.
Midway through, I pondered an interesting uncertainty as to the motivations of the author. I wondered whether the author was trying to point out the absurdity to people who fear such things as GMOs, unfettered corporate power, etc (i.e. me). By caricaturizing the devil, a person can poke fun at the people who quake in fear of the whole Satan construct. So, satire, or political/social activism? In the end, the reader chooses. While I enjoy balancing multiple points of view, my chips would be that Dag was not written as a satire. (Sorry for the side track.)
Now, I'm more a Bladerunner fan than a fan of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, so I won't rate Dag using the same ruler as I did The Windup Girl.
In Dag, I enjoyed flights of imagination, witty dialogue, and a plot with twists and turns. On the other hand, I missed sparkling prose and found extraneous wording, which engaged my skimming reflex. Those are nits, more about the art of writing than storytelling, so take them for what they're worth. Notably, some of the sex and brutality was too harsh for the schoolyard humor of the novel, yet too schoolyard for harsh reality--making those scenes a bit uneven in this work. I would have preferred adherence to humor such as that of Men in Black. (Okay, I'm getting annoyed that so many of my comparisons are with movies instead of novels. A quick analysis tells me that I saw this novel in my mind's eye instead of savoring the words in my....mind's ear ???)
That's it. I'll rate, overall, a 3.5/5.0 as a fun excursion in the nutty sci/fi genre.
-- Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a non-reciprocal review.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on May 7, 2013 :
Nicolas Wilson's "Dag" makes for a good, refreshing reading experience in more ways than one. It's clever and brimming with wit, having just enough humor and funny characters to keep the reader interested, as the plot becomes more and more insane. An Agriculture agent gets caught up in a web of intrigue involving genetic experiments with vegetables and soon finds herself with two half-plant babies, an ex-drunk sleeping on her couch, an eccentric old scientist and a boyfriend who is cloned from corn. It is very well written and develops the way a good story should. I understand this is Wilson's first novel. I'm sure it won't be his last. This one's worth a look.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)