Friday, February 24, 2017

Ten seemingly unrelated books that complement each other perfectly

At the B&N Reads blog Jeff Somers tagged "five pairs of books that have nothing to do with each other—and yet have everything to do with each other," [spoilers] including:
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley & Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

The complementary nature of these two novels is all to do with the nightmarish inversion they represent for each other. Victor Frankenstein raids charnel houses and slaughterhouses for the parts he needs to create his creature, and in Ishiguro’s story human clones are raised from childhood in order to provide spare parts for their originals, a horrifying reversal. Interestingly, the precise nature of Frankenstein’s process is unclear—there is no evidence he literally stole arms and legs and hearts and lungs from graveyards; in fact, his process is more alchemical, even supernatural. Still, it’s easy to imagine him taking organs from corpses to build the better man, while in Ishiguro’s story organs are taken from perfectly healthy, living beings so their older genetic twins might live a bit longer, be a bit healthier. After reading these two books, ask yourself who the monster really is.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Frankenstein is among Olivia Laing's top ten books about loneliness, Helen Humphreys's top ten books on grieving, John Mullan's ten best honeymoons in literature, Adam Roberts's five top science fiction classics and Andrew Crumey's top ten novels that predicted the future.

Never Let Me Go is on Jeff Somers's list of eight tales of technology run amok and top seven list of speculative works for those who think they hate speculative fiction, a list of five books that shaped Jason Gurley's Eleanor, Anne Charnock's list of five favorite books with fictitious works of art, Esther Inglis-Arkell's list of nine great science fiction books for people who don't like science fiction, Sabrina Rojas Weiss's list of ten favorite boarding school novels, Allegra Frazier's top four list of great dystopian novels that made it to the big screen, James Browning's top ten list of boarding school books, Jason Allen Ashlock and Mink Choi's top ten list of tragic love stories, Allegra Frazier's list of seven characters whose jobs are worse than yours, Shani Boianjiu's list of five top novels about coming of age, Karen Thompson Walker's list of five top "What If?" books, Lloyd Shepherd's top ten list of weird histories, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best men writing as women in literature and ten of the best sentences as titles.

--Marshal Zeringue