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Author Topic: Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay  (Read 1826 times)
Max Roguespierre

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« on: August 16, 2018, 01:58:06 pm »

I have recently read Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana. It has received extensive praise as a classic in the fantasy genre. While I am uncertain whether I would rate it among the very best works of fantasy, on the whole I found it to be an engaging read.

To start with Kay is a good writer. His prose is absorbing, expressive, and frequently exhibits a lyrical quality that is rare in the genre. There are flaws to be sure, both stylistic (run on sentences, excessive repetition, etc...) and plot related, nevertheless, it is a highly readable work and the good far outweighs the bad.

Kay creates a rich tapestry of a world inhabited by colorful and passionate characters. While the world is quite evocative the author is less interested in realism than in how the interplay of memory and interaction shape perception and identity.

My primary issue with Tigana is with the climax to the tale. It's almost as if Kay reached a point after over 500 pages where he decided it was time to wrap things up as expeditiously as possible. As such the immediate lead up to the climax, the climax itself, and its subsequent resolution feel hurried, haphazard, and improbable given all that has been previously written. Its not that the ending feels wrong or unearned, rather, to an extent, it feels rushed and forced.

As a footnote, Kay's use of magic is interesting and vivid on the micro level but comes across as vague and contrived on the macro level (deus ex machina).

I know not what life is, nor death.
Year in year out-all but a dream.
Both Heaven and Hell are left behind;
I stand in the moonlit dawn,
Free from clouds of attachment.
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