A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
~post by Raul M. Chapa
There are many books written about the love of books, and I want to celebrate the arrival of another to the genre: Sophia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria. Though set in a totally imaginary world, it is the author’s beautiful use of language that will suck you into this story about books and the love of reading.
Shall I say it is the cadence of her sentences that grab you? Or is it the rich imagery she weaves when she describes her world? It is almost poetry – free verse of the best kind. There are literally whole passages that beg to be read aloud, and if you have a love of the English language, there is not one paragraph you can pass up. She becomes a sorceress of words, and in their beguiling attraction, one can get lost.
There were times before the publication of the book, after I had passed my reader to another bookseller, that I felt bereft. Her sentences hung in my head like delicate glass baubles – floating against one another. They gently resonated, ringing out like chimes, in the back of my mind. I could almost hear the words without the text – few books have affected me in this way, and I wanted more: I wanted to read the book again because no other book I picked up could dispel what I had experienced.
The feeling is still there. It grows with each day that the pages rustle in my hands. I envy those who come across this book on their own because the great wonder that I experienced will be theirs, too, and we will share something unique.
If you want a book to read before the new Patrick Rothfuss comes out, if you are dying to read someone who writes with the verve of Gene Wolfe and Mervyn Peake, if you want something different for your book group, if you are looking for a memorable summer read, A Stranger in Olondria will fulfill your expectations.
Copies of A Stranger in Olondria are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.