The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Tiran, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Tiran

    Tiran Well-Known Member

    I had previously enjoyed The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and was looking forward to Hope: Another great novel.

    Technically, neither novel is SF, since the basis for both stories is a seemingly impossible ability mysteriously bestowed on the title character. Harry keeps reincarnating, Hope cannot be remembered if she is not in your sight or hearing. But Ms. North explores the ramifications of these powers in our universe without additional miraculous events, so the net effect is identical to a SF book that postulates a wormhole or telepathy and then examines their effect on our reality.

    It has been awhile since I read Harry August, but my overall feeling was that Hope was just as fascinating and perhaps even better written. Hope plumbs deeper psychological depths as it relates the protagonist's methods for keeping her sanity and safety as someone outside of humanity. The book also explores the intersection of social media, privacy and marketing in a way that is convincing enough to drive the plot without being as wholly convincing as Hope herself.

    While never difficult to follow, Ms. North's writing borders on "literary", the prose being of a higher caliber than what one might expect of an adventure caper - reminding me of someone like Iain Banks who wrote with a delicacy that didn't fall into flowery or poetic. Her writing is also impressive in the details and construction of the plot - one feels like the author must have spent a lot of time simply diagraming how the whole story will fit together.

    One of the best speculative fiction novels I have read in quite some time. I'd recommend reading Harry August first and then wade into the somewhat more thoughtful Hope.
    Boreas likes this.
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Thanks for the review. I've been recommended The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August before, but had forgotten to pick it up. Will be doing so now. And positive comparisons to Banks' prose always helps.

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