Monday, 24 May 2010

I have never read anything by…

One of the reasons I started doing the blog was to see what else was out there other than what was on my bookshelves. It turns out that there’s one heck of a lot out there and I may never get round to reading it all. That’s not going to stop me from trying though… :o)

Ian McDonald is one of those authors that has nothing but good things said about them (particularly when ‘Brasyl’ was published). He’s also one of those authors whom I’ve never read anything by (the closest I came was looking at an awful looking cover for ‘Ares Express’ some years ago) and thus fits neatly into my latest admission that I’m nowhere near as well read as I sometimes like to think.
The ‘immediate’ reading pile is pretty much set at the moment but there’s always room to fit another book in, especially when it’s by an author I’ve never tried before. I’ve got no idea what the best book, by McDonald, to start on is so when an advance copy of ‘The Dervish House’ came through the door that pretty much answered my question for me!
Here’s the cover art and blurb…



It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone it seems is after a piece of Turkey. But the shockwaves from this random act of 21st century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square.
Welcome to the world of The Dervish House; the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. The year is 2027 and Turkey is about to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its accession to the European Union; a Europe that now runs from the Arran Islands to Ararat. Population pushing one hundred million, Istanbul swollen to fifteen million; Turkey is the largest, most populous and most diverse nation in the EU, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. It's a boom economy, the sweatshop of Europe, the bazaar of central Asia, the key to the immense gas wealth of Russia and Central Asia.
Gas is power. But it's power at a price, and that price is emissions permits. This is the age of carbon consciousness: every individual in the EU has a card stipulating individual carbon allowance that must be produced at every CO2 generating transaction. For those who can master the game, who can make the trades between gas price and carbon trading permits, who can play the power factions against each other, there are fortunes to be made. The old Byzantine politics are back. They never went away.
The ancient power struggled between Sunni and Shia threatens like a storm: Ankara has watched the Middle East emerge from twenty-five years of sectarian conflict. So far it has stayed aloof. A populist Prime Minister has called a referendum on EU membership. Tensions run high. The army watches, hand on holster. And a Galatasary Champions' League football game against Arsenal stokes passions even higher.
The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, three interconnected story strands, one central common core--the eponymous dervish house, a character in itself--that pins all these players together in a weave of intrigue, conflict, drama and a ticking clock of a thriller.


Sounds interesting… The book itself isn’t out until July so I’ve got a little while to get stuck in, you can expect to see a review soon(ish).
In the meantime, this is where you come in! Have you read anything by Ian McDonald? What did you think? Have you read any reviews of work by Ian McDonald? Where are they? I want to read them! And does the blurb for ‘The Dervish House’ appeal to you? Can you see yourself picking it up for a read? Please leave the answers to any or all of these questions in the comments section below… ;o)

4 comments:

Khaled said...

Let me get this out of the way: I'm so jealous.

That being said, it's irrational because, like you, McDonald is on my to read shelf but I haven't yet started. I was planning on starting with Brasyl or Cyberabad Days, but maybe I'll cut straight to The Dervish House.

Just finished the Windup Girl, which may be a good bridge to this novel, with the talk of carbon emissions and backdoor politics.

Looking forward to your review
-Khaled

Val said...

I've read four of McDonald's books, three of which are taking more or less the approach of The Derwish House.

River of Gods, set in India in 2047 is probably the strongest I've read, although the accompanying collection Cyberabad Days also contains some very strong pieces.

I've also read Desolation Road, which is one of his earlier novels and quite different from River of Gods. It deals with the colonization of Mars I suppose, but it takes an almost fantastical approach to this topic. Interesting book but McDonald has grown a lot as a writer since he wrote it.

For me McDonald's prose took some getting used to. It's a bit hard to explain but there seems to be a rhythm to it you need to get before it reads comfortably. Don't let that put you off, it's worth the effort.

Maggie said...

Sounds like the sort of book that will be banned in Turkey.

Yagiz said...

Maggie,

May I ask how do you know so much about Turkey?