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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Just finished Connie Willis's "All Clear" -I won't spoil anything

   
Author Topic: Just finished Connie Willis's "All Clear" -I won't spoil anything
taibreamh
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I just finished reading "All Clear," the second half of Connie Willis's novel (the first part of which is called "Blackout") about time-traveling historians and the London Blitz during WWII. This story was incredibly gripping for me. It's been a couple of years since I've encountered a book that kept me so engaged the whole way through. I finished the book late last night, and today I feel a little shaken and fidgety, like I need to pick up something that's going to be equally engaging and enthralling.
Part of me wants to talk about this book with someone, but nobody I know has read it yet (despite my recommendations, my friends seem to think that historical fiction is boring, although I'm not sure that's what you'd call these books.) I figured this was the right place to come. If I can find anyone who's read the book, it would be here, and If I can't, I would imagine that I might find recommendations for something that might help me shake this book's grip on me.

So I guess I'm asking for books that you've read that are powerful enough to have left you feeling a little numb and sad that their over, but at the same time completely satisfied (even if the ending isn't necessarily happy). Books that make you feel like you're a slightly different person after you've finished than you were before you read the book, and you'll always see things just a little differently.
Any suggestions?

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mr_porteiro_head
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Howdy, Taib. What brings you to Hatrack? Have you been here for a while unregistered? Do we by chance already know you by another name?

I enjoy Willis's time travel stories. I'll have to check it out.

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taibreamh
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I've been an unregistered lurker for a year or so, and have been reading OSC since I was about 13 or so.
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lobo
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Doomsday Book is one of my all time favorites! I will have to check out All Clear... thanks.
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taibreamh
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Doomsday Book was fantastic.

A note: don't read All Clear without reading Blackout first. All Clear isn't a standalone sequel, they were written as one book, and the publishing company decided it was too long and split it into two.

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Kwea
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Welcome!
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
So I guess I'm asking for books that you've read that are powerful enough to have left you feeling a little numb and sad that their over, but at the same time completely satisfied (even if the ending isn't necessarily happy). Books that make you feel like you're a slightly different person after you've finished than you were before you read the book, and you'll always see things just a little differently.
Any suggestions?

I call this Awesomeness Withdrawal.

Aha, the Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novels.

The Artemis Fowl books sorta do this for me, Series of Unfortunate Events.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Kudos, Blayne. Saying "I call this ______" is much better than saying "This is called ______" and providing the link the the TVTropes page.
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taibreamh
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It is Awesomeness Withdrawal.
I read both Artemis Fowl and the Lemoney Snickett books as a teenager and enjoyed them a lot. Maybe it's time for a revisit to both these series.
I haven't heard of the Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novels. Perhaps I should look into them?

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Kudos, Blayne. Saying "I call this ______" is much better than saying "This is called ______" and providing the link the the TVTropes page.

But its the same thing!

quote:

I haven't heard of the Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novels. Perhaps I should look into them?

Hells yeas, the first few should have an official english release that you can get from barnes/nobles or amazon etc.

You should also check out the tv anime adaption, both versions (dub vs sub) are excellent.

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Amilia
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Hi, Taib. I'm in the middle of All Clear right now. I would have been finished, except that I decided to reread Blackout before starting All Clear so as to have all of the threads straight in my head. Connie Willis is brilliant at laying out all of her threads and then pulling them together.

SPOILERS


I've just discovered for sure who Ernest is. I have suspected it, but there was always the chance that Ernest was Denys Atherton. Am very relieved that Mike is OK. (I felt rather silly that I didn't realize they were taking names from The Importance of Being Earnest until Willis used the play for one of the pre-chapter quotes.)

I'm finding it very difficult to see how they are going to get out of this mess they've gotten themselves into. Part of me is afraid that she's going to kill off Dunworthy and end time travel for good. But she called the book All Clear. Surely they will be able to get back. So I am finding all of the mentions of Dunkirk and Agatha Christie to be very apt.

END SPOILERS

I'll look forward to discussing it more when I'm finished.

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taibreamh
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Haha, I certainly won't spoil anything, but I'll be very excited to be able to talk to someone else who's actually finished.
When I noticed the Importance of Being Ernest names and was really confused as to why they kept calling these guys Cess and Gwendolyn and stuff before I finally figured out it was an army code... I felt really silly.

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Amilia
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Agreed. At first I figured it was just some weird British thing--like it was OK to name your baby boy Gwendolyn there or something.

I finished it last night. And am now also experiencing Awesomeness Withdrawal and wanting to talk to someone about it. My brother is reading it too, but he's still in Blackout.


SPOILERS


So how old do you think Great Aunt Mary was in Doomsday Book? I was thinking that she was Binnie's daughter, but I did the math, and that would make her at least 90 years old. Which would make her a very spry 90 year old, but maybe people live longer and better in the future? But it's only 50 years in the future. So maybe Mary is now just a family name.

Speaking of Binnie, I loved that she ended up picking Eileen as her name. And that her nickname was Goody Two Shoes.

I spoke too soon about Mike. Am sad about that, but it wouldn't be a WWII story if everyone made it out alive. And he wanted to study heroes.

It took me some time to figure out the Douglas was the name of a motorcycle--I spent a bit of time thinking Willis had dropped the ball and changed Mary's last name from Kent to Douglas midstream. Oh ye of little faith.

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taibreamh
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SPOILERS


You know, it didn't even occur to me to think about Binnie and Great Aunt Mary being related, but they would've been, wouldn't they? Unless Mary was the daughter of one of Eileen's other children...
Haha, somehow it's so much fun that Colin and Binnie are related, especially thinking about how mischievous and bothersome Colin is in the Doomsday Book.

And I was really really upset about Mike. That bit was very heartwrenching. I kind of thought that Dunworthy would be the one who wouldn't make it back. Mike's death, when it goes into his train of thought, was written beautifully.

It's kind of wierd, I remember being a little disappointed reading blackout, because I thought the historians seemed a little underdeveloped as individuals, but for some reason in "All Clear" their characters developed so much. Like you said, ye of little faith...

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Carol M
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I just finished All Clear and I simply cannot figure out from whom Colin is descended (or vice-versa). taibreamh says Binnie. I can't work the logic path. Can anyone elaborate [Confused] ?

I love everything Connie Willis has written, but I admit some are better than others. I have read Doomsday Book three or four times, and To Say Nothing of the Dog and Bellwether at least twice each.

I was enraged at the end of Blackout to discover it was not the whole story. I do not recall being warned before I started.

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