Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Book Review of Intensity by Dean Koontz

As posted on Goodreads:

I would give this book 5 stars except for the extreme violence. The violence is necessary to the plot, but, for my own records, I need to remember that I can't recommend this book without any reservations. Koontz's vocabulary is the most effective of any author's I've read in years; he always has the exact and precise word at hand to best express his meaning. His writing style is smooth, polished, and effective. As for the plot, one of the most engrossing I've read in years -- not only is is full of action and suspense, but it holds life-lessons within it's character studies. The classic theme of redemption ran throughout the novel, with nuggets of philosophy thrown in through both the narration and the dialogue. 

Here are a few quotes I enjoyed: 

"...victimhood was seductive, a release from responsibility and caring: Fear would be transmuted into weary resignation; failure would no longer generate guilt but, instead, would spawn a comforting self-pity."

"...the embarrassing contradictions of the situational ethics that characterize both the modern atheist and those whose religion is politics." 

"...her whole life was about survival, as any nun's life might be defined by the word faith or any politician's by power."

"She lacked the hope needed for prayer."

On her friend's family's murder: "...this grim aspect of the Templeton family's interrupted journey. The kindnesses they might have done for others. The love they might have given. The things they might have come to understand in their hearts."

"...tighter than a politician's fist around a cash bribe."

"...stubborn as a sunset."

When the monster murderer was running away on fire, "...chasing neither her nor Ariel bu an undeserved mercy."

On her teen sessions with a psychiatrist: "He wanted to help her cope with her grief, but she told him, 'I don't want to learn to cope with it, Doctor. I want to feel it.' When he spoke of post-traumatic stress syndrome, she spoke of hope; when he spoke of self-fulfillment, she spoke of responsibility; when he spoke of mechanisms for improving self-esteem, she spoke of faith and trust; and after a while he seemed to decide that he could do nothing for someone who was speaking a language so different from his own."

"There was more truth in fiction than in science."

Talking about reading a newspaper and despairing about all the news. "She read a movie review full of vicious ipse dixit criticism of the director and screenwriter, questioning their very right to create, and then turned to a woman columnists's equally vitriolic attack on a novelist, none of it genuine criticism, merely venom, and she three the paper in a trash can. Any more, such little hatred and indirect assaults seemed to her uncomfortably clear reflections of stronger homicidal impulses that infected the human spirit; symbolic killings were different only in degree, not in kind, from genuine murder, and the sickness in the assailants' hearts was the same. There are no explanations for human evil. Only excuses."

Setting up on the beach: "...where they took up tenancy side by side."

"None of them wanted anything more than to be less alone."

The main character discovers she'd been more scared of "...this new thing that she had found in herself. This reckless caring. And now she knows it is nothing that should have frightened her. It is the purpose for which we existed. This reckless caring."

Here are a few of the spectacularly precise and vivid uses of vocabulary I noticed: tenebrous, serried, pule, turbid, attenuating, antimacassars, reverse lycanthropy, soupcon, paladin, scrimshaw, lagniappe, spoor, trammeled, skink, bibelots, wadcutters, pintle, gudgeon, ichor

1 comment:

Norma said...

I've never read his novels, although they seem to be everywhere. You're right, the violence would be off putting for me.