(4 / 5) Babel – R.F. Kuang
When I first noticed this book in a book flier from my local book shop, I knew I had to get my hands on it! Delving into the power of language and colonization in a semi-magical Victorian England!! This was an absolute must-read for me! Thankfully, even with extremely high expectations going into this one, I was not left disappointed.
Kuang does a brilliant job of weaving together the story of four unusual students who come together to study language and the magic is provides at the world renowned ‘Babel’ in Oxford, England, and the injustice and horror of colonization on nations worldwide. While clearly this is a work of fiction as Kuang builds a world around the magic of language, she also vividly and unapologetically addresses the VERY REAL issues and inequalities that accompany colonization.
The one drawback of this book was a lack of character development beyond the main character, Robin Swift. The other characters, his school friends, are there and take up a minor amount of the story but I felt they certainly could have been more fleshed out. I was also disappointed that the complexity of the students’ relationships with one another was not more fully realized in the narrative. Having said that, I realize that ‘something has to give’ when you’re writing and I agree that the larger meta narrative concerning the effects/injustice of colonization was more important to convey.
Read on my friends!
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