Sunday, May 15, 2016

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn
Read in 2015


About The Book
In 1349, one small town in Germany disappeared and was never resettled. Tom, a contemporary historian, and his theoretical-physicist girlfriend, Sharon, become interested. By all logic, the town should have survived, but it didn't. Why? What was special about Eifelheim that it utterly disappeared more than 600 years ago?
In 1348, as the Black Death is gathering strength across Europe, Father Deitrich is the priest of the village that will come to be known as Eifelheim. A man educated in science and philosophy, he is astonished to become the first contact between humanity and an alien race from a distant star when their interstellar ship crashes in the nearby forest.
Tom, Sharon, and Father Deitrich have a strange and intertwined destiny of tragedy and triumph in this brilliant novel by the winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award.

My Thoughts
I wasn't sure how I felt about this book while reading it. It didn't live up to the standards set by The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, but after I finished it I missed the characters. As we drove to dinner with friends on Saturday night I felt a bit dazed at being in 21st century Sydney and not 14th century Germany. I particularly liked Pastor Dietrich, who like all good religious men of the time have a bit of a non religious history. We don't find out completely what that past was, but are given tantalising hints. He sort of reminded me of Brother Cadfael from the Ellis Peters series.

I am beginning to feel that the novel could have been written without the contemporary storyline. Although I quite enjoyed the physics and history parts of it, the relationship between Tom and Sharon was confusing. And half the time I couldn't understand what Tom was saying because he spoke in German? I think it's German... but I may have missed the bit where it explained his cultural background... Anyway I don't read German.

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