- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (28 February 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 076532993X
- ISBN-13: 978-0765329936
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 23.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 454 g
- Customer Reviews: Be the first to review this item
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The Scar Hardcover – 28 Feb 2012
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About the Author
SERGEY AND MARINA DYACHENKO have received numerous prestigious literary awards for their novels and short stories. They were honored as the European Science Fiction Society's Best Writers of Europe at Eurocon 2005. Marina and Sergey are married and live in Kiev. Their short story, "The Burned Tower", originally published in Russian, was a winner of the 1999 InterPressCon Award best story of the year, and has now been translated into English for the first time.
The Scar was translated by Elinor Huntington, who studied Russian Literature at Barnard College and UCLA. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
At its heart, The Scar is a tale of two people (and another person linked to both) whose lives are eternally altered and inextricably linked by a senseless murder. It is a tale of a terrible and well deserved curse. It is a tale of arrogance, fear, humiliation, cowardice, and redemption. It is a tale of pride, grief, and forgiveness. The great strength of Russian literature is its ability to plumb the depths of the tortures of the human condition. The Scar shares this ability and brings it to a fantasy setting.
The other tremendous strength of Russian literature is, oddly enough, the language. The prose is halting, haunting, and lyrical, as that of all great Russian literature seems to be. E.g., "A delicate, sweetish, slightly smoky fragrant was soon added to the bitter smell of the velvet. As he gazed at the black partition in front of him, Egert's hearing became unusually acute. He heard a variety of sounds: far and near, subdued and susurrant, as if a horde of dragonflies were creeping about the inside of a glass jar, brushing their wings against the transparent walls."
As I implied above, The Scar is very light on action and very heavy on character development and depth and the interrelations of the characters. All three main characters are exceptionally well drawn and three-dimensional. Of course not everyone cares for this sort of thing and it's hard to do for any author not named Dostoevsky, but when it's done right it can, to my mind, create something of spectacular beauty that leaves an imprint on one's soul, a true artistic masterpiece. I humbly submit that The Scar is such a work (and it still reads much easier than Dostoevsky, not the least because it dispenses with Russian naming conventions).
The world of The Scar is adroitly drawn, albeit only with the broadest of strokes. The book takes place almost entirely within two cities. Fantastic elements are largely limited to mages and the mysterious and ominous Order of the Lash (neither of which are fully explained), oblique references to some great threat to the entire world, and the enigmatic Wanderer.
This review is of the Kindle edition. The Scar was originally published in 1997 in Russia. Elinor Huntington deserves great praise for her English translation. Let's hope we see more Huntington translations of the work of this talented Ukrainian (and Ukraine is NOT weak!) in the near future.
Courage and cowardice are the fundamental challenges of a man's existence on this world. Skill, intelligence, ability - nothing matters if you don't have the courage to use it.
To become a true man, Egert must lose everything, his home, his honor, and nearly his mind, and journey from his home in a militaristic city (whose library is, tellingly, in a state of desuetude) to a center of learning that's in subtle conflict with a shadowy religious sect that seeks to rule through fear and cruelty. He must be made weak so that he may become strong. He must master the fearing beast within to save the woman he wronged, her city, and himself by putting what "is first in his soul last." This is true Initiation.
This is a fairytale of sorts, told in almost a classic Russian style. It's sad, but not often anymore does one find a story of manhood where men are men and women are cherished. The prose is direct, simple and hauntingly beautiful; and the experience of reading it, this "path of experience," is unforgettable. I feel a little wiser having read it. It is most certainly a piece of modern literature.
(And, btw, the tale is long so that you can experience the despair fully. If you don't like long books, or don't have a long attention span, grab your clicker and go watch tv.)
On the negative side - this is part II from 4 books series, so some of the hints and references to the 1st book are lost. Still, excellent read.