Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Years of Rice and Salt

by Kim Stanley Robinson

This is an interesting tale on two levels. The basic milieu is an alternate reality--a world in which the Black Death killed off three times the number of Europeans than it did in our world, 99% of the total population. The role that European nations played in world history is now taken by other nations, other cultures. Mr. Robinson postulates the rise of Chinese and Islamic empires that create a history that only vaguely reflects our own. The other premise that makes this novel worth reading (and rereading) is that reincarnation is real. We follow the lead characters from life to life, with a brief scene in the bardo between incarnations. I suppose there might be some spiritual/philosophical insights in the tale, but to be honest, I was too busy enjoying the variety of stories as the characters progressed through a new and intriguing history. Oh, well, it's a good excuse to keep this one on my shelf so I can pull it down for another read someday.

LibraryThing link

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