Primitive by Mark Nykanen
Published by Belle Bridge Books
Mr. Nykanen’s story is kind of thrilling, but it’s also much too preachy for me. I consider myself knowledgeable but not radical about environmental issues. But I also believe proselytizing belongs in venues other than fiction. I admire Al Gore’s enthusiasm and wholeheartedly believe that humans are helping to speed up climate change. However, I also know (as someone who has taken scads of classes in geology and paleontology) that what we are experiencing today has happened many times before in Earth’s history, and will happen many times again with or without humans around. So that said, I’ll just give a few comments about Mr. Nykanen’s story.
I did think the premise, a super model (Sonya) kidnapped by radical environmentalists (Terra Firma), was a pretty interesting story-line. I haven’t read that one before! The complex relationship between Sonya and her daughter, Darcy, was also interesting. Oftentimes mothers and daughters keep the very things that they need to share buried too deeply to share. Also the methane problem from melting perma-frost is one I’m familiar with and one which should concern us all. However, Darcy’s trip through the tunnel and the violence which ensued there was really too graphic for my taste, and I don’t mind graphic violence if it’s necessary to the plot. I just didn’t feel that the story-line warranted such violence.
You know, I don’t really know why I didn’t like this story. That’s an awful comment to make for a Reviewer, isn’t it. But some things just don’t sit well, and this book just didn’t. I thought it was well written, and as I’ve said I thought the plot was very interesting. But I just didn’t like it. All this said, Mr. Nykanen should keep on writing, because he’s really very good. My feelings about this novel are very personal ones and probably are specific to just this one book in Mr. Nykanen’s collected works. I’m not going to stop reading him, that’s for sure.
A comment about the publisher, Belle Bridge Books: I was kind of surprised that Belle Bridge published this, although I’m so glad that they’re branching out. They are the publishers of my very favorite books in the last few years and I’m so thrilled with their success. Mr. Nykanen, you’ve landed with the best!