Book Banter: Bats of the Republic

BOTR0Title: Bats of the Republic

Author: Zachary Thomas Dodson

Length: ~450 pages

Genre: literary fiction

Where Bethany’s copy came from: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Two intertwined stories weave through the book — one in 1843 about naturalist Zadock Thomas sent on an errand to the Republic of Texas in order to win the hand of Elswyth Gray and a second about Zeke Thomas, set in 2143, in a steampunk Texas in a post-apocalyptic world as he tries to figure out a mystery.

Banter Points: When I saw this book go by in Wowbrary, it was listed as an “illuminated novel.” I love grown-up books with pictures or the like in them.I was hoping for a find like “S.” for this year and “Bats” seemed promising. At first the back-and-forth for Zadock and Zeke’s stories was fun. I was confused, but in a good, compelling way.

Bummer Points: I liked it, but, um, I got lost. Granted, there were three days of Murder and Mayhem and then three sick days that interrupted my reading, but still. It shouldn’t be that complicated. (I mean, I read “Brothers Karamazov” and “Anna Karenina” over a span of weeks and didn’t get lost.) I think Dodson was being all meta about stories, but I just wanted to be entertained with the pictures and the interwoven narratives. Instead, I came away feeling stupid (I’m not stupid).

Word Nerd Recommendation: “S.” or “The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet” this is not. Maybe it’s a good read if you want the meta read, or are willing to play along (as I was at the beginning).

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