Monday, November 13, 2006
And now for something completely different...
No idea what to do with this one. Not quite sure who to give it to. Think I might just have to wait until Vol. 2, or extensive discussion before I make up my mind about it.
As historical fiction, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Volume One: The Pox Party is so rich of language and detail that it actually drips the 18th Century. Octavian has been raised as a science experiment, experiencing a quality of life unusual for African-Americans in pre-revolution America. However, as war looms and connections with financial backers in England strain, Octavian begins to realize just how unusual his life really is - and how ignorance can be bliss.
It is clearly fantastically done and exquisitely researched, but I don't quite know where the audience is. I contemplate if the adult audience might just get more from the title. At the same time, I can totally see this being taught in high schools. It's frank, and it places the war in a context that, while I was aware of, I haven't seen in a fictional representation for teens. It was the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason and the age of Revolution. Science was paramount to a fault, war got in the way. Octavian was in-between.