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Swan Song Book Review

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posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 01:49 PM
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Swan Song Book Review

I’ve been to the library twice in as many weeks; I’d almost forgotten how much I love libraries.
One of the librarians recommended I read the novel Swan Song, which I’ve since discovered is on PBS’s list of top 100 great American reads.

Have you read this novel?

Let me start out by saying that Swan Song is not great literature, but it is a great read. I’ve been a bit negligent in my reading habits lately, so perhaps this 900+ page indulgence will help get me back in the habit and warm me up for worthier goals. That said, McCammon’s sprawling post-nuclear fantasy-horror novel is worth much more than its surface appeal.

After The Bombs
The novel’s been compared to Stephen King’s The Stand, and although I can see a resemblance in the general subject matter, (catastrophic event which destroys America’s old way of life, a struggle for survival, a battle for humanity, showdown between good and evil, and a very creepy villain) I find McCammon’s to offer a more thorough examination of the human spirit, in all its radiance and its depravity.

Although the novel is rather thick, McCammon wastes very few words. His lead up to the U.S./Russian nuclear exchange is brief, the actual attack short and brutal, the devastation sprawling and shocking, but the bulk of the novel details a slow and grueling climb back to some semblance of civilization. The novel offers an interesting mix between fantasy and realism.

The characters, though flat (according to literary standards), are interesting and offer simplified versions of the varied aspects of the human character. There’s a supernatural element of God/Satan as well. The “Man With the Scarlet Eye” made for a memorable villain, and I was fascinated by the glimpses of his psyche.


I enjoyed the biblical overtones, which when juxtaposed with modern American cultural references and the utter loss and destruction of both, made for a chilling picture indeed.


I love the role forgiveness plays in the novel.

In a novel about a man-made wasteland, purity and goodness stand out, and either inspire others to goodness, or hold an unforgiving mirror up to villany. Swan Song examines the Machiavellian question posed in The Prince,but in this conclusion, loyalty and love are natural consequences of virtue, and fear might inspire loyalty but only to a certain extent and never love.

I do believe that virtue is attractive to fewer, but more quality souls.

After reading this novel, I walked outside and soaked it all in-- the brightness and warmth of the sun, the clear and colorful skies, the pulse of life all around… and realized that I have so much to be grateful for.

I’d recommend reading this novel if you haven’t already.




posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

It is a great novel.
I haven't read it since I was in high school. Thanks for reminding me about it. It's definitely worth another read.



posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 01:57 PM
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a reply to: watchitburn

Ha, your avatar could be an illustration from the book!



I read through a lot of reviews and many of them were from people who had read it multiple times with no regrets.

Hope you enjoy the read even better the second time around.



posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 02:22 PM
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Thanks for the review.

I haven't read a good post-apocalyptic novel in years. Sold! I will add it to my collection right away.



posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 02:26 PM
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a reply to: Tartuffe

You're welcome!



I'm glad the review piqued your interest, and hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.




posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

I read it back when it was a new release. My wife ( married back then ) and I bought it to take with us on a 1,000 mile trip to visit her folks ( which she had back then ).

We took turns driving while the other read the book. Too bad we didn't think of reading it out loud ahead of time. One of us had cheated by starting to read before the other, and didn't want a rewind. That's what happens when you get a real page turner. So we were out of sync; not on the same page.

"Okay, it's your turn to drive! You've already been reading for twenty minutes, my turn."

"No, it's only been twelve. At least let me finish this chapter. I'll let you know."

Virtue is easier to appreciate when you personally are not the one making decisions; ie. fictional characters in life-like situations. Fictional characters are easier to admire because the narrator of the story fills in the whys and underlying circumstances behind the character's actions. In real life we must give the benefit of the doubt; or not.

Read Swan Song and then The Stand, wait twenty years, and try to describe the plot of one without mixing in elements of the other.

Good review



posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 03:14 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

It's one of the few books I will re-read with pleasure.



A good review.



posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 03:58 PM
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originally posted by: pthena
a reply to: zosimov


Virtue is easier to appreciate when you personally are not the one making decisions; ie. fictional characters in life-like situations. Fictional characters are easier to admire because the narrator of the story fills in the whys and underlying circumstances behind the character's actions. In real life we must give the benefit of the doubt; or not.


This is a really good and interesting point. Well worth a consideration. (Also-- very cool to hear about your experience reading the novel, which sounds quite memorable. I imagine it was a particularly interesting read to accompany a road trip, considering so much of the novel was spent roaming the country.)



posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 03:59 PM
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a reply to: DBCowboy

I am definitely going to be on the lookout for a copy. I'm sure that I'll come back to revisit this one at some point.




posted on Apr, 16 2019 @ 04:16 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

A trip to remember.

Neither one of us is a speed reader. Even when we got to her folks', it was a great risk to set the book down.

"Hey, where did it go?"

"Well you weren't reading it."

"It was like two minutes to go to the bathroom!"

"Thanks for the warning. I'll take it with me next time I go."

I would say that both of us consider it a top 5 read. It's a good bet that if I asked to borrow her copy, she would go to three or four thrift or used book stores looking for it rather than give up her own.



posted on Apr, 17 2019 @ 08:04 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

That's a good book. It's one of my favorites.

Here's one to look for on your next trip to the library.



posted on Apr, 17 2019 @ 08:37 AM
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a reply to: Skid Mark

Awesome. Thank you for the recommendation! I'll check it out if I see it! (Library pun. Ha.
)
edit on 17-4-2019 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 17 2019 @ 10:00 AM
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a reply to: pthena

I love road trips, love seeing how much wide open space and all the varied scenery of this country, and also love bringing the right books with me on my travels!

There was a time in my life when I was doing quite a bit of that-- not so much now-- the adventures are still there just of a more domestic nature. Lol.

I couldn't even begin to put together a top 5 when it comes to books. Top 25, maybe. And DO think this book would factor in there! It's just highly memorable and very well written. And can really get the imagination/mind going also.

Hope you're having a good one!



posted on Apr, 17 2019 @ 10:42 AM
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a reply to: zosimov

It's no problem. It's slightly similar to Swan Song (I think it came out before Swan Song though) but has to do with a comet striking the earth.



posted on Apr, 17 2019 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: zosimov



Hope you're having a good one!

Pretty good. Started a new thread.
But I'm best in the morning.
I hope people don't get too impatient if I don't get back until after my nap time.







 
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