Monday, November 16, 2009

If you read ONE book this year...

...make it Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl".

Paulo Bacigalupi is a new writer to me, as his previous (award-winning) work has been largely short fiction, but with his first novel, he has absolutely NAILED the world I was trying to create in "Mai Shangri-La". Best of all, he's created his future world in Bangkok, as I did in "Mai Shangri-la". Worst 0f all, his vision of that world is, if anything, even darker than mine.

As a school librarian and a writer, I'm going to quickly correct my ignorance of Bacigalupi's previous work. I stand in awe of his vision of the future, of the intricately detailed world he has created in a single novel (it reminded me in this sense of "Dune"), and of the absolutely visceral nature of his writing. Move over Stephen King. I've got a new literary muse to follow!

Reading "the Windup Girl" won't make me give up on my own writing, and it won't make me try to emulate Mr. Bacigalupi's style, but it will make me rethink the old "show, don't tell" mantra. Bacigalupi is a master at this. I've lived in Bangkok for 25 years, but in apparently a single short visit before writing "the Windup Girl", he captured the very essence of what makes living in Bangkok a constant love/hate thing - and he shows what it could be like in 50 years.

Thanks so much, Paulo Bacigalup - for both entertaining the Hell out of me for the past week - and for giving me a new reason to get back to my own writing.