Solitaire

by Kelley Eskridge

ISBN: 0060086602

Eskridge’s writing is a serious cut above what I think of as standard genre-fiction quality. This book (her first) is full of vivid descriptions, real conversations, and little bits that make her characters seem human. This is a well-paced story — Eskridge made me want to know how things were going to turn out.

The story takes place in a quasi-dystopian, near-future world. A global government (EarthGov) is pulling together and one very powerful company (Ko) is looking to be a nation-state. There’s a lot in here about the power of symbolism, the power of corporations, and the power of social networks, all of which is more interesting that I’m probably making it sound right now. There are also questions about authenticity, relationships, and identity.

The main character, Jackal, is both extremely naive and highly trained — understandable given who she is and how she has been raised — and this makes her problems more interesting than they would otherwise be. At first her problem seems to be she is a living symbol with a screwed-up mother; then it becomes apparent that her problem is that as a living symbol, she makes a convenient fall guy, so she winds up a convicted mass-murderer. Jackal is locked away in experimental solitary virtual confinement, and the fun really starts after that.

A side note: this book is the only kind of lesbian fiction I’m interested in reading — the point being it isn’t lesbian fiction at all — it is a good story in which two of the characters happen to be women who have a relationship that works (or doesn’t) just like any other relationship in any well-written book.

If creepy near-future worlds, virtual reality, or corporate machinations in fiction hold any appeal for you, read this book. Highly recommended.

3 thoughts on “Solitaire

  1. Thanks very much for these kind words. I’m delighted you enjoyed Solitaire, and that you chose to cast it terms of power as well as identity. I’m interested in identity, as you can doubtless tell from reading the book, and in the ways that choices make us more or less powerful in ourselves, and in the world. And I’m also interested in telling a story that others find interesting (smile). Glad you did.

  2. You know, this has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I know we’ve chatted about it a bit, but I thought I would let you know that in retrospect it still holds up. Thanks for recommending it.

  3. Averaging 73 Books a Year
    My book log, reading notes, is two years old today: 146 reviews posted, and counting. Some favorites from the last year: Fiction: Solitaire Nonfiction: Monster of God Art: Why People Photograph Graphic Novel: The Octopi and the Ocean Any good…

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