There are a lot of different threads and all of them are managed well and given enough space to be explored properly. There's the, somewhat stereotypical, lonely ex-cop private investigator with the career back story, ex-wife and kid he adores but hardly sees. There's a complicated tangle of Peri, her employees and their child. And woven in all of that is the research corporations, new religions, surgeons, corrupt officials, social welfare groups, police, armed forces and alternative societies that make up this city. One of the things I thought was particularly well achieved was the description of the science of creating fliers. I think writers need to go one of two ways when it comes to the science part of the fiction, either explain it fully and comprehensively or leave it totally alone. The reader is given the information through Zeke's visit to the doctor in charge of his son's impending surgery, and it is explained in detail. For me, it totally worked and seemed completely realistic and not at all impossible. But the very best part of the book is the description of flight. I really can't stress enough how real it feels, I could see everything Peri sees, feel everything she feels, I was so up with Peri soaring through the air. And I learned a lot. I had no idea air is so complicated! It is really worth picking up a copy for this reading experience alone.
The dream of being able to fly is now physical reality, but only the rich and powerful can afford the surgery, drugs and gene manipulation to become fliers. Peri, a poor girl from the regions, will sacrifice anything to get her wings and join this elite, but the price is higher than she could have imagined. So why then does she throw it all away? Feel the exhilaration and terror of flight - over vertiginous skyscrapers, into wild storms and across hypnotic wilderness, in this beautiful and daringly imaginative novel that explores the limits of self-transformation. When We Have Wings is told in alternating narrative voices, of Peri Almond a poor girl gifted wings by her wealthy employees, and the aptly named Zeke Fowler a high profile private investigator who will never be a flier. The first two chapters contain quite large information dumps which was a lot to hold onto as I was introduced to the two points of view and this dystopia-type future world. Although after this, Claire Corbett devotes time to telling the tale and world building, which is fantastic and really adds to a sense of being immersed in the story.
It's a bit hard to pick the genre, like a lot of speculative fiction it's got a bit of everything. It has a kind of crime / mystery / thriller format but it has a science fiction / fantasy element. And there's a tiny bit of almost zombie type stuff in that the messing around with genetics can lead to horrific, unintended consequences. So it's hard to categorise but I really enjoyed the blending of the genres. It tackles some controversial issues such as the ethics behind genetically modifying humans, and what it might mean for society if different species of humans were created. It also tackles surrogacy and many of the complications around it including the use / abuse of poor and disadvantaged women who are desperate for economic freedom, and what a surrogate mother's rights might be to the baby she carries. Even though it tackles issues like this, it really leans more towards the crime / thriller / mystery angle so perhaps it's not particularly literary in the most traditional sense, but it does have depth and it's a brilliant and original story that is perfectly realised. To be continued...
My husband, one of the most unromantic man in the world (doesn't do birthdays, doesn't do anniversaries) bought me flowers right after Father's Day. I'd told him what a great Dad he'd been till now. To be a great Dad it helps if there is a great wife and mother is what he said as he handed me the flowers. Not bad for an unromantic guy! Beautiful alstromeirias. He won't remember but I had these in my wedding bouquet all those many years ago. Still playing around with my camera settings, it has a retro setting which I was a bit sniffy about until I tried it. I'm totally converted now. Another setting for Sepia. Normally I'd disdain using this kind of thing in-camera, that's what we've got Photoshop for after all. But I do so like this shade of brown. Couldn't resist photographing the beautiful paper the flowers came in, um, don't remember what this setting was. Maybe I might be in love with sepia after all. I mean, how cool is that? I have somewhere some pictures from an old book on flowers that look just like this but i can't find them. Will see if I can dig them out to show you. Till the next time.