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The Investigation The Investigation by Stanisław Lem, translated by Adele Milch


rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Investigation is beautifully written, even in translation. Scenes are described with a clarity that I can almost touch. Lighting is especially described vividly.

I put this on my detective/mystery shelf, because those are the genre tropes Lem is playing in, but it's not really a genre book. Specifically, many people read detective/mystery because they like that the mystery is solved in a tidy package at the end, and that doesn't happen here. It's more of a commentary on the human condition, especially the conditions of emotional isolation, uncertainty, and inability to connect/communicate with other people.

It took me forever to read this book because I figured out early on that the resolution that makes me enjoy a genre book wasn't going to be there.

So I only gave the book 3 stars because I didn't enjoy it that much, but as a work of literature it probably deserves 4 stars at least.

It's been a long time since I read Stanisław Lem's other famous book, Solaris, but my impression is that Lem's themes worked better for me in that book, because I am used to those themes being played with in the science fiction genre.

View all my [goodreads.com] reviews.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
supergee
Jan. 24th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
After about three Stanislaw Lem novels in which we encounter something huge & strange and fail to understand it, I gave up on him.
firecat
Jan. 24th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
I think I will read Solaris again, but I don't think I will be seeking out more of his books.
nolly
Jan. 24th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
The first Lem I read was The Cyberiad. I loved it, and picked up a number of his other books. Unfortunately, I have so far been able to get through any of the rest. *sigh*
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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