It's the title that drew me in. I have a tendency to lean towards annihilation. At every wrong turn, at every unexpected challenge, at every health obstacle my mind turns to annihilation.
I'm not exactly sure what the point of this story is but I liked what Jeff VanderMeer has started in this Southern Reach trilogy. The writing style reminded me so much of All the Birds, Singing - that stinging inner dialogue that everyone experiences but is so hard to capture with words on a page. What surprised me even more was this man's ability to capture the inner thoughts of a woman.
Here are some passages I highlighted:
The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.
Sunlight came down dappled through the moss and leaves, created archipelagos of light
That’s how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.
For most of the read I had no idea what was going on* which mirrored the protagonist's own experience. But then about half way through I realized that she, ghost bird, knew more than she was sharing. Hints of this were seen early on as she shared with the reader what she was withholding from her expedition group but then there comes the sinking suspicion that she's withholding from me as well and that made me a bit nervous. When I noticed I withdrew my trust in her narrative. My reading experience didn't necessarily take away from enjoying the book, its just that I became weary which made me more active in my reading.
“We all live in a kind of continuous dream,” I told him. “When we wake, it is because something, some event, some pinprick even, disturbs the edges of what we’ve taken as reality.”
This is what I felt back in May and for the first time in my life I don't know if I am ever going to seek out that continuous dream again.
*ETA: I was talking to a friend last night about this book and I told her that I don't know what this book is about, who the characters, why they are there in that setting, what the motivations are or even where the setting is though I do suspect it is somewhere in North America. She asked why I enjoyed it and I think it is for those feelings of not knowing what is happening. Perhaps this just speaks to where I am in life right. Not knowing what is going in my life nor which path to take is somewhat liberating.