I have just finished Pattern Recognition in one of those headlong rushes, where real time collapses into the folds of the pages and my body’s rhythms align with the main character’s until that final page, the final paragraph, sentence, word closes everything down, and the real world around me stretches, uncomfortable, like new skin, and nothing, not even the clock stating the real time, seems as real, as factual, as the world I just left behind. Yeah, it was one of those books.
I definitely will be hunting down more William Gibson novels, but even if I find them tomorrow, I won’t be reading them for at least another month. Maybe longer. I need to clear my head. I need to see the world through my eyes for a while. I need a world a little less chaos-structured and a little more concrete.
The overarching impressions I’m left with, less specific to character and setting and more generalized, is Gibson’s minute sentence-by-sentence pacing that told the story as much as his words. His words weren’t bad, either; descriptors that called upon themes, repetitive in the way of patterns and not lack of imagination. One of my favorite:
“Win [the main character’s father]…had treated paranoia as though it were something to be domesticated and trained…. He cultivated it on its own special plot, and checked it daily for news it might bring: hunches, lateralisms, frank anomalies.”There were more, many other phrases and descriptors, noteworthy yet bypassed in my nosedive to the finish. Having won my personal “best first line” contest, Gibson’s novel withstood to the end, never offering disappointment.