PALIMPSEST by Catherynne Valente

I’m glad I read Deathless first, because I thought it was so amazing and yet, people, if I had read it after Palmipsest I would have been sorely disappointed. Palimpsest must be the kind of book that, if you write it, you’re afraid you’re never going to write anything as good as ever again.

It’s simply breathtaking.

I don’t really know how to tell you what it’s about. It’s kind of like a grown-up, sexed-up, non-Christian Narnia. There’s incest and weird tattoos. Rich kids have to be licked into normal existence by poor kids. There’s a train and a fortune-telling frog. And mechanical bees. And a city that exists in some other place, which you can only get to by fucking.

I am still kind of reeling from it. Ha obviously, if I’m imagining naked men in my flowerbed.

7 thoughts on “PALIMPSEST by Catherynne Valente

  1. YAY! I read Deathless more slowly than I’ve read a book in years. And when I finished I turned right back to the beginning and started over again. Then I made my mom sit still while I read the first chapter to her.

    I have purchased “Habitation of the Blessed” because the subject matter is right up my alley and I think I’ll start that this weekend. But I’m going to buy Palimpsest post haste on your rec. As I did with Deathless. So utterly worth it! Thank you for bringing this author to my attention!

  2. I thought you’d like it. And I don’t want to insult Deathless, which I also enjoyed. But Palimpsest doesn’t have that falling off in the last third of the book.

  3. Crackerjackheart, well, I have to give credit to nm and Pope Lizbet who mentioned her enough that I was finally like “fine, okay, let me check this chick out.”

    I’ve been checking her ouvre out from the library, slowly, but I think PALIMPSEST may be a book I actually want to own.

    nm, when you said you thought it was better, I had a moment where I thought you must just be wrong or like books that aren’t to my taste. But no! No no no. It is just a fantastic book.

  4. Palimpsest is such a big part of my heart. I am so glad you enjoyed it well enough to want to own it. I can never pick a single reason why it holds that high station, either. There’s just so much in there to love.

    Did you notice that THE GIRL WHO CIRCUMNAVIGATED FAIRYLAND IN A SHIP OF HER OWN MAKING got its start as a book-within-a-book in Palimpsest – and now through a series of tiny and unexpected miracles is in the world? Enough to make me believe in Valente’s particular brand of magic. :D

  5. I bought The Girl Who etc…for my kid yesterday because it looked like just her kind of book. Now I’m eager for her to finish it so that I can start.

  6. I really enjoyed The Girl Who…, myself. I just finished it. I’m eager to hear if your kid likes it. I thought it was just the right balance of being a book about a young girl written in a way a young girl would enjoy without being patronizingly “for” young girls.

    But I wonder if it strikes the intended audience that way.

  7. Judging by the number of small people who have been giving Cat their enthusiastic thumbs-up on the Fairyland awesomeness, I’m hoping it does strike them that way – it seems to. And Bridgett, have fun with Fairyland – it is the best of all romps. (And you may tell your kid, if she enjoys it, that it is definitely going to be a series, the second book is already in process.)

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