30 March 2010

Ship Breaker; Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those dystopian books that leaves you feeling vaguely unsettled (not necessarily a bad thing). Set in a climate-changed future, Nailer's life is pretty rough: drunken, addicted, abusive father, dead mother and to make ends meet he works "light crew" stripping ships for salvage (the description here is very much like what I'd read in an article about ship stripping in India today). He's part of a crew, trying to make a daily quota, when Fate takes him in hand.

The "lucky strike" he has of surviving near death in an oil pocket, then surviving a "city killer" (hurricane) and finding Lucky Girl (a "swank") all set up the second half, which is him trying to help Lucky Girl get back to her father (owner of one of the rich shipping companies).

What I liked most about this is the questions it raises about society, about friendship vs. family, what family is, how one can choose one's destiny and how luck is a tricky thing. I also liked that Nailer's life didn't radically change at the end; things were left a little messy and there's no "happily ever after" on this horizon.

ARC provided by publisher.

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