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Topic: Did anyone read Passage by Connie Willis....

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Subject: Did anyone read Passage by Connie Willis....
Date Posted: 6/18/2009 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,536
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I am wondering if this is a good read.  Anyone read Passage by Connie Willis?  Do you recommend it?

Subject: Passage
Date Posted: 6/18/2009 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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Well, I've read it twice, second time for a book group, and liked it.  Not sure what your taste in books is like though.  Have you read other Connie Willis?

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 6/18/2009 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 360
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I've read it. It was my least fave book of hers that I've read.

Compared to "Doomsday Book" and "To say Nothing of the Dog", this was dark, not fun at all and kind of creepy.

and the final nail in the coffin [hahahaha], for me, was that she never actually answered the question she set out to write about. Which is "what is death" and what comes after, basically.

Date Posted: 6/18/2009 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I actually think Passage is one of her strongest novels. I like that it was unresolved at the end, and the dark and creepiness fit a book that is trying to explore themes of mortality. I found myself much more emotionally involved with these characters than with many of her others. For me, Connie Willis writes two sorts of books: the light-hearted, very British comedies (To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellweather, Uncharted Territory) and the books that are more melancholy, atmospheric, and (at least attempting) resonant (Doomsday Book, which is her best, Passage, and Lincoln's Dreams). I would agree that Passage is not as good as Doomsday Book (there is a reason Doomsday Book is her only award-winning novel) but I think it is still very strong. The only caveat I would add is that if you haven't read Connie Willis before, you might be a little put-off by her attention to minutiae; every novel of hers has something that forms the through-line and backbone to the plot but which isn't actually part of the plot; in Passage it's Titanic trivia, in Bellweather it's fads, in Lincoln's Dreams it's (obviously) LIncoln, and all that minutiae can seem to take away from the plot if you aren't interested in whatever she is interested in for that novel. So if you don't like Titanic trivia, I would say avoid Passage just because of that. :)

Subject: Passage
Date Posted: 6/18/2009 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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I'm going to try to avoid spoilers, but the ambiguity of the near death experience is one of the things I appreciated.  I don't feel there is a cut-and-dried answer to that question in the real world either.  This is definitely a less conventional sf novel that Willis's others.  Probably more of a mainstream literary novel with sf aspects. 

-Tom Hl.

Subject: Passage
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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I read this in response to a challenge from TomHl.  It kept my interest and I remember liking the book, very thought provoking.  But I recollect that I was disappointed that the "questions" raised were never definitively answered (which of course they can't be answered until we each take our own private passage).  Passage wasn't really my flavor of SF but I'm glad I decided to try something different.

As an indication of my taste (or lack thereof), I didn't enjoy Lincoln's Dreams, found it tedious to the extreme and had to set it aside unfinished.

Subject: ah-ha moment
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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 and all that minutiae can seem to take away from the plot if you aren't interested in whatever she is interested in for that novel.

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Just reread this from PhoenixFalls.  Yeah, yeah - that's it exactly..............