CBR13 BINGO: Machinery
Big thanks to Merryn for using this novel for the Machinery square. Very clever way to fill a square that would have otherwise had me stumped or using up my free/pandemic options. Machinery with magical shenanigans is more my speed. Thanks!
This novel dips its toes into multiple genre pools: historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and a dash of romance. It’s hard to find a story uninteresting if it can bring together the Fenian bombings of 1884, the premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, the crumbling of feudal Japan AND a steampunk Octopus.
After his sister is widowed, Thaniel works as a telegraph clerk in Victorian England’s Home Office. He sets aside his life as a pianist for a steadier income to help support her and her two sons. While going through the clockwork-like motions of a government cog, he comes home one day to find a pocket watch in his apartment. When the pocket watch serves a function much greater than the telling of time, Thaniel seeks out its creator, Keita Mori. At the same time, he meets a physicist, Grace, who longs for the kind of freedom that marriage could bring to her scientific pursuits.
Surrounded by people who try to “engineer” him for their own purposes: love, freedom, civic duty or money, Thaniel tries to piece together his own past, present and future.
I reviewed Pulley’s Bedlam Stacks last year. It was one of the few books that I read in 2020 that managed to grab my attention during the great pandemic reading slump. You have to pay attention to Pulley. Every word is intentional. A very non-linear writer, Pulley doesn’t leave breadcrumbs to follow or dumb anything down–she writes as if she expects the reader to be able to piece it all together eventually. I appreciate that. It can make for a slow start, but definitely pays off in the end.