Veniss Underground Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
Read CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN instead.
First, the formal layout of the book is three chapters, written in the first, second and third person perspective. This produces in particular for the two first two chapters a personal almost intimidating experience. This is emphasized by the rather erratic language, which are more an assembly of half-sentences and second thoughts than well written prose, but it serves its purpose to enhance the claustrophobic, dooms-day feeling of the main characters.
The central part is the last chapter (I regard the first two chapter as a prologue to it) describing the voyage from the surface to the deepest level of the underground. It feels like a modern version of the Dante's Inferno. Vandermeer describes that which the progress in the underground humanity is more and more withdrawn. First it is only reflected in the behavior of people living there in despair. Then even their appearance alters (like the reappearance of the main character of the first chapter). Further down the underground is populated with creatures which only remaining humane character treat is suffering because they recognized the agony to live in that place and the awareness of their own doomed and flawed existence. At the end even that is gone and what remains is a chaotic dog-eats-dog world.
I rarely encountered a book which provoke so much emotion while reading and long after that. The book defies any classification into SF or Mystery and its use of first and second person narrative makes it so distinct to other who tried a similar approach.
Overall, it is the story of a man seeking to save his lover, and perhaps also his soul, for he blames himself for her circumstances.
On Veniss, the cities are compacted into worlds of their own, each with their own political forces and policing policies; not only above ground, but beneath the world are levels extending far down into the deepest and most despairing depths.
The story picks up with Nicholas and Nicola, brother and sister formed in the same vat, birthed and raised together. Nicholas is an artist and Nicola a civil programmer, so very close when they were young, they were now miles apart both mentally and socially.
Shadrach is friend to Nicholas and former lover of Nicola, a large man who used to run supplies across the wastes in-between cities and now has a deep-rooted fear of the Underground.
When Nicholas goes missing, Shadrach doesn't give it much thought until he finds that not only is Nicola also missing, but pieces of her have turned up at a rich woman's estate.
Shadrach knows that Nicholas was last seen heading for the headquarters of his own mysterious boss, Quinn. Quinn is the ultimate "Living Artist", creating brand new lifeforms both useful and hideous. Nicholas had wanted to purchase a Meerkat from Quinn, in order to protect him from the police who robbed him.
Shadrach vows to find Nicola, and kidnaps the head of her former Meerkat to take into the Underground with him on his quest for Nicola, and his drive to hunt down and kill the enigmatic Quinn.
What makes Jeff Vandermeer's novel so very intriguing is his tri-view approach to telling his tale.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I first saw this slim tone siting on the shelf of my local bookshop. It seemed but a slight annoyance yet I decided to buy it. It turned out to be a very good annoyance indeed. Read morePublished on May 20 2004 by James Windle
Perhaps the nicest thing about the book is it's brevity, for a book that broadly falls into the fantasy genre. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by JP
Veniss Underground is the first work by Vandermeer that I have read, and I must say that I was impressed. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2003 by proteusyndrome
In "Veniss Underground" Jeff VanderMeer has produced a fascinating retelling of the underworld mythology that so riddles our collective subconscious. Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2003 by Amazon Customer
This guy still has problems with pronouns and people are practically handing him a Hugo. I'll admit I read it at Pizza Hut, but this book just screams, "Like me! Read morePublished on July 30 2003 by Eric Hines
A mesmerizing tale of damnation and salvation set in a horrific far future where human bodies are infinitely malleable material for artistic manipulation. Read morePublished on May 15 2003
Veniss Underground is one of those books that makes you think about it long after you've read the last word. Read morePublished on May 14 2003 by Jason E. Lundberg
Veniss Underground is an entertaining, action-packed story with real characters that develop (or otherwise mutate) as the story progresses. Read morePublished on April 24 2003 by albemuth