Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.
Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
"Am I too late?" he said, yanking them off and squinting at Mary.
I first read Connie Willis' Doomsday Book last October. (You can read my first review.) It was a book I knew I HAD to reread soon. In fact, I was tempted to reread it that very year. But. I also wanted to save it for this December because it is--in a way--a holiday book. It's not so Christmas-y that you couldn't read it in July or February. But. It feels just right to cozy up with it next to the Christmas tree.
What did you like most about the novel? (Or what did you like least...)
I loved just about everything in Doomsday Book. I liked the writing--the narrative. I liked the setting, the world-building. I liked the premise--I love reading about time travel!!! I loved the history--again, I love historical fiction. It's just a COMPELLING read with characters that I just loved. I liked how it was very serious, very dramatic. Yet it wasn't without humor or lightness.
Which storyline did you prefer? The past or the present?
I loved both stories. The one set in the 21rst century (2050s I believe) and the one set in the 14th century.
I thought both centuries were peopled with interesting characters. I thought both stories were important in telling the whole story. One story wasn't 'better' than another.
Which characters did you like best?
Mr. Dunworthy, Kivrin, and Colin were probably my favorite characters. Although Dr. Mary Ahrens, Agnes, and Father Roche aren't too far behind. I really thought so many characters were developed well.
Where there any characters that you hated?
I wanted to boo and hiss every time Gilchrist spoke. Seriously. I HATED him so much. I did really enjoy seeing the other characters hate him too. Mrs. Gaddson is another that comes to mind. Though I didn't really hate her at all. I mean she was so good at being 'a character' that drives everyone around them crazy, so good at being a pest, that I actually liked her scenes because they provided comic relief. Like some of the characters Austen created. You wouldn't want to spend time with them yourself, but, they're fun to laugh at all the same.
Do you think the novel is more plot-driven or character-driven?
Both I think. I mean it was, for me, a fast-paced novel. It was emotional; it was compelling. Near impossible to put down. You might think that since it is a reread, there wouldn't be this urgency to it. That I could take my time. But no. I got caught up in the story and have to keep reading. I think the time-travel element--the premise--is important in a way. It will appeal to a certain type of reader. But. I also think the characters add so much to it. I mean these are very human characters. The situations in the novel are very intense, and it's hard not to CARE about them. And I think the characters are memorable.
Is this a novel you'd recommend to others?
Yes! I still think it's a great, great book. Rereading it only helped me realize how MUCH I do love this one!!!
If you read this one with me, please leave your thoughts in the comments, or leave a link to your review. I'd love to know what you thought!
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews