After quite a hiatus, I finally decided that I was in a state to read a book and review it via Blogadda. Not that I haven’t been reading, I have, quite a bit, but this meant a 7 day deadline, which I assumed I would be able to manage.
Unfortunately, my current reading schedule is primarily determined by one 8 month old’s sleeping pattern. And she decided that this was way too much liberty for her Mumma, and so here I am , 3 days late. Apologies for that.
So this time I picked up ‘The Clockwork Man’ by William Jablonsky. The tagline says “Created to fascinate, designed to serve, until he broke free”. And this tagline is what made me want to read the book in the first place. As the name suggests, the book revolves around Ernst, a mechanical clockwork man, invented by this person who is a famous clockmaker. The inventor treats Ernst as a member of the family, and Ernst believes that he has been made to serve them and protect them, come what may.
I have read Sci-fi novels before and enjoyed them. However, when I say sci-fi, I refer to the MIchael Crichton genre of books. Where there are inventions, mutations, experiments going wrong, and then pretty much always a race to save human race or a member of it. In short, I refer to the sc-fi thriller genre.
This book is not a thriller. It deals with Ernst as an individual, and not as an invention. I loved the way the story is narrated, which is in the form of a Ernst’s diary, which he writes because he is told that human race might find his encounters and existence interesting and useful someday. The story starts in the 19th century, when Ernst starts with anecdotes from his daily life, his views of the members of the family, especially Giselle, the inventor’s daughter for whom he develops a soft corner, an unlikely emotion for a machine man. Half the book later, circumstances change, and he wakes up wound up in 2005 and continues the diary. The stark contrast between the times has been brought to the fore very well.
I will not say anything else that would give the story away. But very honestly, I found myself thinking of Ernst as a human being, than a robot. Mainly because, I could not imagine a sentimental(even romantic at times) storyline being built around a man made of metal. So, I would generally replace him in my head with say, a servant of the household, who is too innocent to understand the world and it’s motives. And then his feelings towards the family, his protectiveness, his emotions, all made more sense in my head. This however helped more in the first half of the book than in the second, when the character of Ernst undergoes some change, owing to the happenings of the past.
All in all, it was an easy read. And in my case, of a genre I have not ventured into before, since I usually keep my sentimental and sci-fi reads apart. That being said, I would recommend it for the manner of narration, the visuals from the 19th century, and contrasts drawn between the time periods. Go for it, you will not be disappointed!