Prosper’s Demon – K.J. Parker

This marks my 1000 book read! Wohoo (cue to a spontaneous dance party, okay now the review)

“Because art,” he said, “is beauty, and beauty is the essence of goodness made visible or audible. When you look at a beautiful statue or listen to beautiful music, you are looking at and listening to beauty which is goodness itself, a force no human can withstand for very long. Therefore, by creating beauty, the artist opens doors and windows in the human mind through which goodness can come flooding in. What we call evil is simply darkness; goodness dispels evil. Beauty dispels evil. Therefore art is the greatest force for good in the whole world.”

This book has some beautiful passages, like the one above. It has complicated writing, oftentimes confusing, and others mesmerizing. I found myself intrigued and repelled by this story, but given my disorientation throughout the most part of it, I can’t bring myself to give it more than 3 stars, especially due to the dialogues. This book talks about an exorcist, and while he is trying to do his work he finds himself having conversations with demons he has dispelled before (because of course, they come back) and in these moments the character is talking not only with the demon inside the person, but also seemingly with the person as well. This made me bewildered for most of these interactions. It becomes very confusing due to the pronouns the narrator uses to address these other characters and demons, and that was very frustrating to me while I was reading.

Memories are tricky; there’s what you remember, and what you think you remember, the editions and redactions of memory, the corrections and amendations and blundered readings and the whole apparatus criticusof the conscious mind trying to make bread out of soup.

It doesn’t help that this is the type of story where you’re just thrown into the middle of things and almost nothing of the world, the characters, the surroundings, and the mechanics of the world is explained. For the writing I am a bit on the fence, I do like it sometimes (the quotes in this review prove it), but other times I just found it a bit too flowery for my taste, and for the purposes of this story. It felt like the author focused too much on write “pretty” and forgot about other things.

Two other aspects however I liked a lot. The first one is the narrator’s personality, he is a bad person, he knows it, and he owns it. He was a very complex, dark, and intriguing character and he made me wish we got to know more of him. Another thing I liked was the fact that for the first time (as I can think now) I didn’t finish reading a short story and felt like it should be longer, as I usually do with this genre. It felt the perfect appropriate size. In addition, the pacing was great and this is a very readable story despite it all. I recommend it with some caveats.

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