The Peripheral

I was talking to a friend a month or so ago about when and why we put books down. Sometimes it’s not grabbing you, or the author seems to be wasting your time, or any number of other reasons, but it happens. I’m a completionist at heart, but steadily learning to stop feeling guilty about not letting an author waste my time.

I didn’t finish The Peripheral the first time I picked it up. I almost didn’t the second time either, but I pushed on because, frankly, Gibson had earned my trust through his other work, his interviews, and–a new one for me–his endlessly fascinating twitter presence. How Gibsonian of him. I’m so glad I did, because this is a new favorite novel for me.

The Peripheral takes about 100 pages to make any amount of sense. It’s an incredibly engaging 100 pages despite this seemingly major deficiency in a novel. You struggle against the frenetic pace, the vocabulary, the mystery until parts and pieces start to coalesce into something you can hold onto. This, in turn, makes you appreciate how the main characters are also muddling their way through. You rarely feel like you have more information than them, which is a very neat trick.

I think you should read this book, and give it at least 100 pages, but go into it as cold as you can and relinquish the need to know what in the world is going on.

This review is cross-posted on GoodReads.