The Year We Finally Solved Everythingby Published 22 Oct 2010
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The global economy is in tatters not because of humanity’s faults but because of its accomplishment. The country of Shan Won, a small island state off the coast of China, has cured all of our ills, and like a black hole, a piercing singularity of perfection, it’s sucking the world dry of its stability and leadership and power.
"The Year We Finally Solved Everything" Reviews
You know when you have a great idea, and you're really excited to explore that great idea, delve deep into it and have a poke around to see if it really is a great idea?! Well, sadly, I fear that Rudolf could have done a bit more digging and a bit more polishing of what he found.
The outline of the story is reasonable. In fact I'd argue that it's a rather ingenious idea, but alas the way in which it was executed fell far, far below the mark.
The main character, Richard, is a useless imbecile. He's not even funny when he thinks he's being funny. He's abrasive and immature and immediately put me off reading the story. The female characters also leave little to be desired, Mia is snarky and rude, Anna: a poster child for mental health issues managed poorly and don't even get me started on Richard's best friend...
The writing is stilted and repetitive to the nth degree. At several points in the book there's about 15 lines that start with the same few words. The same ideas and concepts are hashed and rehashed and driven so far into the reader's face it's almost as invasive as having your eyes examined by an optometrist.
The way in which society crumbled in the book seemed rather explosive, but not so far outside of the realm of possible that it wasn't believable, at least a little. If the writing were more palatable I might have allowed some of the other issues, but sadly all together this was a pretty average read. I'm quite glad it was a freebie.
I liked the idea, but loathed the execution of the book. I honestly couldn't recommend it, unless you wanted editing practice.
A few things I noticed:
36-37% pay phone is hyphenated in one instance and not in another.
57% - We walk(talk) about waiting on the couch...
92% - I can't breath(e) and I reach...
I wanted very much to like this book, but by the time I finished it, I was glad it was free. The main character had very little to make him likable, becoming less likable as his trials to get to Shan Won progressed. There were some technical issues (grammar, etc) that were more aggravating and distracting since I was already aggravated by the storytelling. The ending to Shan Won was moderately satisfying, but could have been better. Still, I'm not mad that I read this one. Recommendation: give it a try while it's free.
The world is falling apart. The economy is in the tank, people are losing jobs, civil society is starting to break down, and people are disappearing. But there is a glimmer of hope - letters and postcards from "The Disappeared"; succinct and to the point, they have found paradise.
Shan Won, a small island near China, doesn't need money. They don't have disease. They are engaged in no wars. There is no hunger. But there is also proof other than the short notes from The Disappeared who make it to the island. Until a CNN journalist returns to tell them that the assumed paradise is Paradise indeed.
Richard wants to go. He needs to go, and as he prepares to go he witnesses the further collapse of society. The world is spinning out of control faster than he ever thought possible.
Surprisingly, since I really liked this book, I have to admit that I really didn'tlike the main character. Richard is simple, vapid, and lazy. Or, perhaps he was depressed, which made him look like he was lazy. In any case, he seemed to drift through his life and just let things happen to him. Even arranging for his passage to Shan Won is an exercise in making plans without actually making plans.
At heart, this story is about the yin and the yang of existence. As Shan Won, the perfect place, grows, the rest of the world decays. The balance of the world is upset.
Although there are moments when this book seemed to drag, there was never a moment when I thought I should put it down and try something else for awhile. And the end was completely unexpected.
Well, except for the love story aspect of the end. I saw that part coming.
This is a pretty intriguing story, and one that struck a chord with me in these tough economic times. Just how would society react to the promise of a perfect place, especially when it seems the rest of the world is falling to pieces? Does it really exist, is it right that it does, and what about those get left behind?
It's quite a short book and not without its faults (it may seem a bit mundane to some, and the main character isn't someone you really warm to, but both seem deliberate by the author to me). However, I read it in just a couple of days, not because it was short, but I was hooked right from the start and couldn't wait to finish it.
This book was super short and an easy read - I was able to get sucked into it pretty quickly, thanks to the author's writing. I found it completely intriguing and I didn't want to put it down - I wanted to find out more about this place Shan Won, the place that finally solved everything and where everyone wanted to go. I guess that's not really the point of the book though, and for that I felt a bit let down. But otherwise I found this book really good and would totally recommend it!