Review - THE WEAVER FISH, Robert Edeson
Ever read a book that you know you should just absolutely love, and yet somehow you're not quite getting it. It's a bit like that feeling you get when you're invited to a party and show up in fancy dress only to realise that you'd muddled up the invitations.
The quote for the book is from Robyn Williams, ABC Radio National's The Science Show - "Evocative writing, in which the science is an essential character. The ideas stimulate and mesmerise."
Not having been any good at science at school might be part of the reason (although having sought confirmation from the resident science boffin, he wasn't convinced either), this reader spent most of the book seriously... bemused I think is the most accurate word.
It's undoubtedly clever. There's a weaving (pun intended) of a series of storylines that head into most unexpected territory. Whilst it's employing some very clever tactics, it's also very slyly introducing some "in-jokes". Elaborate joke character names, footnotes nearly as intricate as those that Mr Pratchett is known to employ. And there's undoubtedly humour built into all of that. Which is also perhaps part of the problem. Humour's subjective and when you get a sneaking suspicion that you're not cool enough, or clued up enough to get the joke, it's easy to get a bit put off. And disinterested.
Whilst things did start to get rather interesting somewhere around a 3rd of the way into the book, that thread seem to wander off to stare at itself in a mirror and contemplate the meaning of life, or the proof of 1+2 equalling 2. Don't get me wrong - I know there's such a proof and I know all about how long it took to actually be proved (I watch QI after all), but ....
You have to admire the bravery of something like THE WEAVER FISH. It's not immediately "pigeon-holed" into any obvious category, and it's not straightforward. That's the bit that this reader thinks is really positive, good, encouraging about such a book. I'd just caution that you read the party invitation carefully.
Cambridge linguist Edvard Tøssentern, presumed dead, reappears after a balloon crash. When he staggers in from a remote swamp, gravely ill and swollen beyond recognition, his colleagues at the research station are overjoyed. But Edvard’s discovery about a rare giant bird throws them all into the path of an international crime ring.
The Weaver Fish is a gripping adventure story. Set on the island nation of Ferendes in the South China Sea, this book’s sound science and mathematical games will make you question all that you know, or think you know, about weaver fish, giant condors, the infamous tornado-proof Reckles® Texan hat, and much much more.