Sunday, 28 December 2014

Thoughts on Hugh Howey's WOOL

Why the peculiar title? The experts keep telling us aspiring writers that a cover is all and the title comes close second in the quest for readers. I galloped through the book - except to eat, sleep and walk Tim - and came to the end slightly puzzled.

First of all - the cover is eye-catching but not informative in my humble opinion. The title is even less informative. Having just finished a book called The Wedding Yarn, which involved a wool shop, I might be forgiven for thinking this new story would be about sheep or knitting or both.  Not at all. The only thing I can see that is relevant to the story is that the powers who run the silo are pulling the wool over everyone's eyes in the hope of keeping them all trapped within its protection. Naughty, and definitely not nice.

But then the alternative is worse. The air outside the silo is toxic. That at least seems to be truthful. So you stay inside or you die. Not a happy alternative. The first two thirds of the book are excellent, with  lots of detail about life in the silo, some doomed people who want to "go outside," and  what the Americans call a kick-ass heroine called Juliette. (Had I been HH, I would have picked a shorter name. Imagine having to type two e's and two t's every time for no apparent gain in pronunciation.)

But the last section seems to unravel (to keep the wool pun going) or else I read too fast and missed important info along the way. The way Lukas guessed what had happened was odd, the way Bernard vanished was doubly odd and we were never told what burn injuries Juliette suffered, or what transpired between her and her father. There was also the curiosity of the kids in the other silo - the oldest was fifteen, yet Solo said he'd been there thirty years on his own. So who conceived and bore the children, brought them up? Who kept the lights running?

Any answers delightfully received!

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