14 April 2009

The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart: MEMORY by LM Bujold

I could read this book a hundred times and not get tired of it. While it's the best of LMB's Miles books, it's the worst place to pick up the series: you need the emotional investment in the characters for this one to hit you.

It's a book with a lot of growing up and good advice. I daresay it's inspirational.

Jo Walton has an excellent post over at Tor.com (Beware: there are spoilers!) I'd sort of hoped to have this up before she got to hers (so I could blatantly self-promote in comments), but some Life intervened over the weekend.

This could be a companion piece to The Mountains of Mourning. In MoM, Miles learns who Lord Vorkosigan is and develops the anchor to Barrayar that is his identity. In Memory, Miles finds Lord Vorkosigan who was lost, suffocated almost, by Admiral Naismith.

Toward the beginning of the book, Miles goes back to Silvy Vale, with the plan of visiting Raina Csurik's grave, but plans never work out, and he spends the day visiting Harra and the Raina Csurik school (and drinking maple mead with the locals.)

It's a story about becoming the person you want to be. Miles' friend Elena quits the Dendarii Mercenaries to live peacefully on a planet and raise children, because she's been a soldier and she wants to see what else she can be. When Miles is heading back to Barrayar, he tells Sgt Taura that he wants the freedom to be as he as he can.

More after the cut:
In Silvy Vale, Miles has a conversation with Harra Csurik about, well, life and everything after. He's telling her about the abrupt shift in his life, and how the plans he'd laid for himself have gang aglee.

"You go on. You just go on. There's nothing more to it, and there's no trick to make it easier. You just go on."

"What do you find on the other side? When you go on?"

She shrugged. "Your life again. What else?"

"Is that a promise?"

She picked up a pebble, fingered it, and tossed it into the water. Moon-lines bloomed and danced. "It's an inevitability. No trick. No choice. You just go on."


Miles is still suffering from Great Man's Son Syndrome:

How could you be a Great Man if history brought you no Great Events, or brought you to them at the wrong time, too young, too old? Too damaged.


But he comes to a realization, while thinking about family traditions: The Vorkosigan family has always served the Imperium faithfully, and Barrayar has been cruel to them.

Naismith was obsessed with winning at all costs, and being seen to have won.

And Vorkosigan ... Vorkosigan couldn't surrender.

It wasn't quite the same thing, was it? [...]

A hillman, dumb as his rocks, just didn't know how to quit. I am the man who owns Vorkosigan Vashnoi.


Vorkosigan Vashnoi that had been nuked from orbit during the Cetagandan invasion and was still a blighted, twisted radioactive wasteland, and gifted to Miles from his grandfather.

The story is part mystery, part romance, part personal growth. We see a new side of Gregor, a very different Simon, and a more matured Ivan (the ass Miles can trust absolutely, to handle the high explosives he might find. We tend to forget that "that idiot Ivan" is Vor, with everything it entails.)

1 comment:

Vilmantė Apytiksliai said...

"I am the man who owns Vorkosigan Vashnoi."
I cried after reading this bit.
What could be more grounding, than to realise this kind of thing?
Miles do grows up itn this book. And gets back to his roots.
Its one of most sirious books of this series.
I just re-read this, and got so much more from it than before. I hope after five years I will get even more.