Just listened to Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation. Having enjoyed the film a while ago, knowing it differed plot wise from the book wasn’t a problem, as can sometimes be the case.
I am really impressed with this book. It’s a fever dream and letting it wash over me rather than trying to fully understand it seemed the best way to experience it. In that respect it reminded me a little of JG Ballard’s The Drowning World, or rather what I’ve read of it. I was ill at the time and running a high temperature. I had to stop reading it as it all got a bit surreal, having genuine fever dreams that involved the plot of the book. I’ve always meant to go back and read it again but never quite got around to it.
What I really like about Annihilation is nothing is ever fully explained. The sense of mystery, oppression and things being just beyond human comprehension remains throughout. I think it admirable that VanderMeer doesn’t succumb to the temptation to explain everything. So often a story can build that enjoyable sense of mystery, fear of the unknown, only for the reveal to be a bit of a let down. That doesn’t happen here. I came away with a real sense of having seen the world through the protagonist’s eyes and as she becomes absorbed into it, I experienced it as she did.
This is a book I will return to and, obviously, I’m going to have to get hold of the other two in the trilogy.