woensdag 26 oktober 2016

Jeff VanderMeer: Annihilation

Hi everyone

Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach series by Jeff VanderMeer.
My copy has 195 pages and I got it at the Standaard Boekhandel.
The book won the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award.

“Welcome to Area X. An Edenic wilderness, an environmental disaster zone, a mystery for thirty years.
For thirty years, Area X, monitored by the secret agency known as the Southern Reach, has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border– an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. Eleven expeditions have been sent in to investigate; even for those that have made it out alive, there have been terrible consequences.
‘Annihilation’ is the story of the twelfth expedition and is told by its nameless biologist. Introverted but highly intelligent, the biologist brings her own secrets with her. She is accompanied by a psychologist, an anthropologist and a surveyor, their stated mission: to chart the land, take samples and expand the Southern Reach’s understanding of Area X.
But they soon find out that they are being manipulated by forces both strange and all too familiar. An unmapped tunnel is not as it first appears. An inexplicable moaning calls in the distance at dusk. And while each member of the expedition has surrendered to the authority of the Southern Reach, the power of Area X is far more difficult to resist.”

Annihilation is enjoyable and entertaining but I didn’t love it.

The writing is great; it flows nicely, it’s elegant and imaginative. The plot is slow but interesting and the premise is absolutely fascinating.
The characters seriously lack development though. VanderMeer made the book into a sort of depersonalized, distant recounting of this expedition, told from the point-of-view of our main-character. As the story progresses we understand how unreliable she is and it raises more and more questions about the characters and Area X. I felt too disconnected to care about any part of it though.

It’s a strange, dark, unsettling, atmospheric, mysterious and surreal book and it is expertly done. I felt uncomfortable reading it. I can appreciate how good it is but I didn’t really like it. It didn’t grip me and I didn’t feel compelled to finish the book.

I’m not sure yet whether I’ll read the second and third part in the Southern Reach series because I’m not curious to find out more about Area X. I read it, finished it and I stopped caring or thinking about the book to be honest.


Happy reading!