book reviews by Althea

All Those Vanished Engines – Paul Park **

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This is one of those cases of a whole being less than the sum of its parts.

There is some good writing here. I’ve had Park’s ‘Princess of Roumania’ on by TBR for a while now, and I’m not revising my plans to read it.

However, this is very explicitly not in the vein of Park’s other novels. It’s more of a piece of writing *about* his novels (and a number of other things). It’s metafiction that explores the differences between (and the intersection of) reality, memory, and imagination.

It’s an ambitious project – and there are interesting ideas in it. But it doesn’t pull together. I read all the way through, hoping that it would – that the random and disparate elements would come together in some kind of philosophical conclusion. But then… it just kind of fizzles out.

As I said, I’m still planning on reading some of the author’s other work – but I wouldn’t recommend this as a place to start (especially since it seems to refer to and discuss elements of Park’s other published works, expecting a reader’s familiarity with them.)

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy…


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