Same Same by Peter Mendelsund
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Speculative fiction, science fiction
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group — Vintage Books
Pub. Date: February 5, 2019
All the greatest minds come to the institute to devote their lives to the important projects of the day. Here they’ll receive all the support that they require to produce these great works. But when Percy Frobisher arrives at the institute, he is certain that he won’t be there long. In, make his great work, and out. But his mind goes blank and he struggles to focus on producing his work. When he stains his uniform, he is directed to the “same same” shop, where one can can take something, leave on the counter, utter the phrase “same same” and receive an even better copy. As Percy continues to stagnate with his project, and continues to use the “same same” shop in increasing amounts, he pushes the boundaries of the institute and his own creativity. In this stunning novel, Mendelsund explores creation, the nature of creativity and the struggle to constantly produce and somehow captures the essence of writing.
** thank you to Netgalley and Vintage Books for providing me with an eARC of this book**
This is going to be a short review, because I’m not sure I can truly give do it justice without rereading the book. Same, same was absolutely everything I hoped it would be. It was bizarre in all the right ways, and hit just so close to home on creativity, and putting everything you have into a project—more over the pressure that comes from doing so. Percy’s voice is expertly crafted, entertaining and off-putting. His ruminations are fascinating and bizarre in the same breath, devolving into stranger and stranger things throughout the book. Particularly interesting are the other characters in the book, they’re what you would imagine from a group of people who have willingly secluded themselves in the desert to work on their passion-projects—bizarre, passionate and interesting. I have never seen someone capture so perfectly what it’s like to be a writer on the page, and I’m certain this is a book that I’m going to reread multiple times.
Anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves bizarre speculative fiction, who doesn’t mind an unreliable (and sometimes absurd) narrator, and needs just a little bit of surrealism in their life. But, I’m going to say this, this is a book I recommend savoring.
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