Jump to content
Werthead

Guy Gavriel Kay

Recommended Posts

It has been accused of presenting some fascist ideas, but I think that's wrong. I love the novel, myself, and think it's a feature, not a bug, that the protagonists do some very unpleasant things in the course of attempting to achieve their goals, goals which are on the one hand extremely understandable (Brandin's magical damnatio memoriae of Tigana itself is horrific in a society where every province has its strong national character and pride) and on the other hand has a  decided ambiguity (after all, after freeing Tigana's name, the goal is... to re-establish the traditional Tiganan aristocratic ruler instead of the foreign aristrocratic ruler, which to the hoi polloi probably doesn't actually make that much day-to-day difference otherwise).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read it in a looong time and my tatses have changed a lot since I did so its up for reread status. I just don't remember anyone mentioning fascism in here. Maybe I missed something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

You referenced Datepalm's review, which IIRC does make accusations in that direction.

Ahhhhh. I haven't read the review in along time, I just remember it with much fondness. :P
 

Note to self: read things before posting things

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The comments on the review are much more edifying than the review itself, I have to say, but I've never been a fan of using memes in critiques, and this isn't even a critique as such, just outright mockery of something she feels beneath her time to critique.

Two other reviews touching on whether the text is in some fashion supportive of fascism can be found at this English-language Polish review site. Ola G. here and piotrek's response here. I find these quite thoughtful and interesting.

It is true that Tigana _is_ melodramatic and full of pathos, and that Kay takes what he's writing quite seriously in the novel. It's clear that the themes he was exploring moved him and had some special resonance for him.

Edited by Ran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ran said:

The comments on the review are much more edifying than the review itself, I have to say, but I've never been a fan of using memes in critiques, and this isn't even a critique as such, just outright mockery of something she feels beneath her time to critique.

Two other reviews touching on whether the text is in some fashion supportive of fascism can be found at this English-language Polish review site. Ola G. here and piotrek's response here. I find these quite thoughtful and interesting.

It is true that Tigana _is_ melodramatic and full of pathos, and that Kay takes what he's writing quite seriously in the novel. It's clear that the themes he was exploring moved him and had some special resonance for him.

I've read Tigana twice and it moved me twice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ran said:

The comments on the review are much more edifying than the review itself, I have to say, but I've never been a fan of using memes in critiques, and this isn't even a critique as such, just outright mockery of something she feels beneath her time to critique.

Two other reviews touching on whether the text is in some fashion supportive of fascism can be found at this English-language Polish review site. Ola G. here and piotrek's response here. I find these quite thoughtful and interesting.

It is true that Tigana _is_ melodramatic and full of pathos, and that Kay takes what he's writing quite seriously in the novel. It's clear that the themes he was exploring moved him and had some special resonance for him.

I've heard good things about the novel but haven't got around to reading it yet.

It seems that one's attitude towards nationalism has a large bearing on whether one likes the novel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally? it has always felt to me that Tigana's political conditions, despite the magical trappings, was more modeled on Poland's 1980's Solidarity Movement and its final success in breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1989 (Tigana was published in 1990).

The long history of Poland literally being disappeared from the globe and history from the 18th century until it very short reappearance prior to WWII, maps well upon Tigana: the names are disappeared, even the language is disappeared.  People are not able to speak it, hear it or even sing lullabyes.  All this happened to Poland after the partition among Prussia, Russia and Austria, until the final bits were gobbled up entirely.  The Soviets were no less welcoming of Polish culture and especially the Roman Church to which most Poles adhered before and after (Russia was Orthodox, and the Soviet was supposedly entirely non religious, seeing religion as a nexus for subversion and rebellion, which indeed it was).

 

That so-called review? That's incredible self-conscious fanfic writer bs.  That's not criticism or even a review.

There are authentic criticisms to be made of Tigana and his other books too, some much more so than others -- especially his truly awful use of pretend language.  That wasn't it though.

Edited by Zorral

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been probably more than 20 years that I read that book (I read Fionavar in 95 or 96 and Tigana probably a little afterwards but it could also have been before Fionavar, I don't remember) but at this time I didn't find that "nationalist" element disturbing at all. After all the "nationalists" yearning for their dissappeared land are the underdogs and perceived more as freedom fighters than as fascists. The idea of the magical erasion of a country as a perfect revenge might seem outlandish but as has been pointed out there are some real history parallels, especially Poland.

There is at least one erotic scene that I found, let's say implausible, ambiguous and somewhat creepy even then and that would probably freak out some people today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny, before this discussion started (and it obviously had crossed my mind about Tigana that it resembles Poland a fair bit) I was gonna post that for all that I'll look forward to reading another Renneisance-era Italy novel from him I'd love to see Kay do something based on Poland- not just the partitions, there's absolutely shitloads of moments and people throughout Poland's history that correlate with exactly the kind of themes and characters Kay likes to write about. The Piast dynasty for example is full of it- from Boleslaw the Brave's early unification, Boleslaw III's ill-thought-out decision to try to keep things unified by, er, splitting Poland among his sons WELL DONE BOLESLAW, and Kazimierz the Great's re-establishment (and generally being exactly the sort of Justinian-like modernisation/legacy figure he likes).

And the political makeup of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth would be a great set-up for his trademark conversational back-and-forths and politicking, and then does lead to that theme of lost glory in the partitions.

Or, not directly Poland, but something centered around the 1683 Battle of Vienna would fit a lot of his Jaddites-against-Asharites fascination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

It's funny, before this discussion started (and it obviously had crossed my mind about Tigana that it resembles Poland a fair bit) I was gonna post that for all that I'll look forward to reading another Renneisance-era Italy novel from him I'd love to see Kay do something based on Poland- not just the partitions, there's absolutely shitloads of moments and people throughout Poland's history that correlate with exactly the kind of themes and characters Kay likes to write about. The Piast dynasty for example is full of it- from Boleslaw the Brave's early unification, Boleslaw III's ill-thought-out decision to try to keep things unified by, er, splitting Poland among his sons WELL DONE BOLESLAW, and Kazimierz the Great's re-establishment (and generally being exactly the sort of Justinian-like modernisation/legacy figure he likes).

And the political makeup of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth would be a great set-up for his trademark conversational back-and-forths and politicking, and then does lead to that theme of lost glory in the partitions.

Or, not directly Poland, but something centered around the 1683 Battle of Vienna would fit a lot of his Jaddites-against-Asharites fascination.

Not to mention that Poland saved Vienna TWICE.  And that's how they were repaid.  But then the USA should be learning some really important lessons about how a 'democracy'  over time can turn into a corrupt morass that can't defend itself, when every individual only cares about getting titles and money from other countries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jo498 said:

There is at least one erotic scene that I found, let's say implausible, ambiguous and somewhat creepy even then and that would probably freak out some people today.

The biggest issue I have with that scene is that the instigator has absolutely no relevance to the rest of the plot. It's basically a lovingly described, extremely detailed, kink scene out of nowhere.

I know the (weird) thematic point Kay was making, but it doesn't fit the plot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, polishgenius said:

It's funny, before this discussion started (and it obviously had crossed my mind about Tigana that it resembles Poland a fair bit) I was gonna post that for all that I'll look forward to reading another Renneisance-era Italy novel from him I'd love to see Kay do something based on Poland

Huh, I have to admit this (obvious now) resemblance somehow escaped me when I read the book (liked it a lot, by the way), but I did think it would be great if Kay decided to move a bit north-east and picture something from rich history of Poland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

The biggest issue I have with that scene is that the instigator has absolutely no relevance to the rest of the plot. It's basically a lovingly described, extremely detailed, kink scene out of nowhere.

I know the (weird) thematic point Kay was making, but it doesn't fit the plot.

Is it that scene in the closet? I don't remember the context at all but it is probably somewhat symptomatic that it is almost the only thing I remember from the book besides the rough outlines of the plot.

Still have not read anything besides Fionavar and Tigana. While I did not dislike them and they are better written than at least 90% of fantasy out there, my response to both was sufficiently mixed that I could never be bothered to get any of his other books. (Partly because I would have to buy them, if I could easily check them out at a local library, I'd probably have read them but I cannot get English books here in rural Germany, unless I buy them myself.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

Is it that scene in the closet? I don't remember the context at all but it is probably somewhat symptomatic that it is almost the only thing I remember from the book besides the rough outlines of the plot.

It's actually another scene later in the book. The closet scene is just... odd. It's doubly weird in that it later turns out that it's the girl's first sexual experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Presumably the situation with Alienor is meant? Very much intended by Kay to be part of the thematics of the text.

As to Catriana, I can't help but think that there are women throughout history who've given up their virginity for what they saw as a cause, necessity, or duty rather than out of desire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Ran said:

Presumably the situation with Alienor is meant? Very much intended by Kay to be part of the thematics of the text.

As to Catriana, I can't help but think that there are women throughout history who've given up their virginity for what they saw as a cause, necessity, or duty rather than out of desire.

One real-life example that always makes me chuckle is that of the Nazi governor of White Russia, Kube, who had a Russian girlfriend who was secretly a partisan.  One night she put a nice hot water bottle in his bed, which turned out to be an anti-personnel mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×