• Caught in the Spell of Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy

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    I can't seem to stop reading the remarkable trilogy of novels by Jeff Vandemeer collectively titled The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance). The one volume hardback edition came out last week and I've dived into it with no lack of enthusiasm considering it's my third reading.

    That's how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.
    ― Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

    What makes these books so fascinating? They are beautifully written for one thing and a pleasure to read. The depictions of nature (the southern Florida landscape/seashore) are remarkable and crystal clear. Plus, the story is so involving/moving that the characters and situations are becoming part of my own life memory. 

    There are scenes in these three novels that will shock you, creep you out, amuse you, move you and anger you (among only a few reactions to the characters/story). And the characters are like Lovecraft channeling Henry James: they are characters with many levels and a complex inner life. 

    The books are about death, obsession, how our modern culture is despoiling nature, first encounter with aliens, obsession and abuse by government. And the monsters...ah, well, you have never encountered anything like it.

    These are novels whose stories make the hair stand up on your neck. I urge you to pick up the one-volume hardback, or the first volume in the trilogy: Annihilation. You will not regret it. The journey in these novels is unlike anything you have ever read.

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