BookshelfJacob deGroot-Maggetti

Babel – R. F. Kuang

Thoughts: Babel was an apt recommendation by my friend Anika; I found it really compelling. I appreciated the way that languages and linguistics were so integral to the plot and the worldbuilding. I wasn’t on board, however, with what seems to be one of the book’s implicit theses—that positive change and/or meaningful reform are only possible through violence, and especially violent revolution.

The book fills a neat niche between fantasy and historical fiction (it’s set in Oxford during the run-up to the first Opium War, near the height of British colonial expansion). This genre, this time period, languages and translation—if one or more of these interest you, Babel would be worth checking out.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering. I read this as an e-book, so page numbers are as they appeared in the app I used, Libby.)

Kuang, R. F. 2022. Babel. HarperCollins.

Posted: Jan 01, 2024. Last updated: Jan 01, 2024.