- You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Yarn Paperback – Dec 1 2010
|New from||Used from|
Special Offers and Product Promotions
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Jon Armstrong is a speculative fiction writer. His first novel, Grey, was published in 2007 and was short-listed for the Philip K Dick Award. That same year, Jon was also nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
However, I got a grip on myself, finished reading the story, and enjoyed the amazing storytelling. I will say I personally spent the most time marveling over the machines Jon invented, trying to imagine how they worked.
The detailing in Yarn will blow you away. Forget what you think you know and let Jon lead you into his universe.
You can listen to Jon's first book, Grey, at Podiobooks.com for an introduction to his storytelling ability. Check out his podcast, If You're Just Joining Us, for the interview where Jon talked to the cover artist. It was great.
Like in most good stories it involves a woman. In this case an ex-lover who is on the run from the authorities when she comes to Tane late one night. "Where have you been? What happened? What are you wearing?" are his first questions because that is the kind of man he is. She tells him she is dying and asks him of a favor. She wants him to make her a garment of the illegal psychedelic Xi yarn to ease her last hours. He accepts before she disappears again and the rest of the book tells the story of how he goes about tracking down and acquiring the yarn to fulfill her last wish. The author portions out key pieces of Tane's past from his youth in the slums to yarn-thief to lover to fashion genius that ties in to and explains what is happening in the main story line. That worked very well for me here.
The story contains delightful black humor and Tane Cedar is an interesting character with an inner dignity to him throughout all his ordeals that makes him easy to love. The other characters are more superficial but there are some really interesting ones like Brunne the fashion dictator of Seattlehama, Vada his ex-lover revolutionary and a few more.
The world building is on par with the story and the characters. "Seattlehama: the volcano-powered sex and shopping capital of the world" is the name of a chapter and a good description of the setting. The slums or slubs where Tane grew up are hash places where lives are cheap and workers are recycled to nourish the plants. The fashion scene is as much a place of fighting and warriors as in any cyberpunk story but it also helps setting Tane apart in his focus on the yarn. Greater truths about the world are uncovered as the story progresses.
Yarn is a delightful dark comedy about a dignified master tailor with some serious skills whose world is torn apart one day by an old lover. It lives up to its name; it is indeed a yarn of the best kind, one that captivates you from the first page to the last. This is the first I read by Jon Armstrong and I am mightily impressed. I am really interested to read Grey his debut now. This is a standalone prequel to Grey. Highly recommended.
It was the cover-art of this book that *really* grabbed me. I kept going back to where it was displayed at a FOGcon dealer table, and in the end decided to judge the book by its cover.
The world-building was brilliant. I loved the Japanese cast to the whole thing, and using Fashion as the guiding principle of society was intriguing and unique. The descriptions were wonderfully evocative.
There was some kind of mismatch between the plot and the place and pace. I felt the story wanted to be about the plot, but it kept getting overwhelmed by the world-building. The use of language, though inventive and apt, still required more effort than I wanted to make... there was perhaps a little too much of it? Like a brocade that's so densely figured that it detracts from all the other characteristics of the fabric. The continuing talk about the fabrics didn't feel "insider" so much as "swallowed a textile encyclopedia." It was difficult to get involved enough to care; I remained a distant spectator, even though I liked the protagonist.
That said, it also feels like one of those books where once you've understood the world, it's easier going. So I may well decide to read the sequel some time, and may enjoy it more.
This book was *very* visual. I can see movie rights in its future. And maybe a graphic novel if there isn't one already.
Yarn takes place in the same Fashion-fueled dystopia of Grey. Or is that Fascion? The casual melding of totalitarian cruelty and high couture, with no moral distinction, is part of what makes his world so bitterly funny and so compelling.
The sentences this man writes can inspire me for weeks. "I am the corporate fashion slut of my dreams!" is one early example. Retail Warriors speak in "WarTalk" that is like Calvin Klein perfume ad copy as written by Joseph Conrad. There really is nothing quite like Yarn and Grey that I've found, and spending time in Mr. Armstrong's carefully and thoroughly-wrought world is as luxurious as fine cashmere kissing milk-white skin.
A few minor quibbles: Mr. Armstrong appears to be sinking comfortably into a slot known as 'speculative sci fi.' I don't know what that means, only that the parts of the book that sagged for me where the parts where I was most aware of the author trying to fit into a 'genre' (when the book took itself seriously as a sci-fi thriller/mystery mostly). I don't know if that is author or publisher driven, but I'd say go with your gut Mr. Armstrong and write what you want, the stranger the better--risk the messy plot and keep the WarTalk coming. Good writing is good writing, don't focus on the sci fi / fantasy labels, defy and transcend them.
Immediately after reading Yarn, I got Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story" on my kindle. Ironically, another near-future dystopian fiction. My review of that novel can be summed up as: 'meh.' Yet it's a critical smash and bestseller. To my ear and eye, Armstrong's take on vapid and rampant consumerism is far funnier and moving than is Mr. Shteyngart's. Where is Michiko Kakutani when you need her?
I hear rumors of another book set in the same world of Grey and Yarn. I'm excited by that--the universe summoned by Mr. Armstrong is so rich in potential it could support at least 2 sequels. This corporate fashion slut cannot wait to go back.