A painting of me

And So It Is Done

   17 January 2005, the wee hours

I have finished reading that beast of a book Quicksilver. It has been a battle from the start, but I have prevailed. I started reading the book last Christmas, during my holidays, though I did not get very far. This past summer, I began reading the book again. I stopped reading before the summer ended. Finally, this fall, on the subway rides two and from work, I managed to find the time to get through the book. I started fresh, from the very beginning. I think that was a good idea. I enjoyed the book a lot more the second time through.

Quicksilver is divided into three books. The first, titled Quicksilver follows Daniel Waterhouse’s journey back from the New World to England. On this journey we are presented with the early years of his life through his life as flashbacks of sorts. The second book, The King of Vagabonds, is a much more entertaining novel. In it, we are introduced to two more important characters in the story, Eliza and Jack Shaftoe. This book ends in a very Emperor Strikes Back sort of way, with everyone down on their luck. The third book, Odalisque , by far the most interesting book contained in Quicksilver, brings all the characters together. The book ends on a most bizarre note; it wasn’t an unexpected ending, but it is bizarre nevertheless.

Taken as a whole, I would have to say I enjoyed the book. It actually was an interesting and entertaining read. The story doesn’t really pick up till half way through The King of Vagabonds, but once the story gets going it is actually fairly interesting. There are lots of twists and turns that will keep you entertained. Mezan has told me The Confusion is a much better book, so I look forward to reading it. There is a lot left unresolved by the end of Quicksilver; it will be interesting to see where the story goes.

So I am done Quicksilver. It feels weird to be finished. I’ve been bitching about the book for the better part of a year. I’m looking forward to starting The Confusion. That said, Neal Stephenson, you are son of a bitch. Please work harder not to piss of your readers.



  1. It’s funny you should mention this, because I started reading it occasionally when I was in England for a couple weeks, and I was sucked in immediately. I told my dad when he is done he has to send it to me. Sometime soon, like when I finish some of the 4 or 5 books I am reading now, I am going to start reading the Cryptonomicon, which I have generally heard is his best book. I’ll get back to Quicksilver eventually.

  2. Having finished all three, I can say that The Confusion was the most entertaining piece of fiction I have ever read. It’s brilliant. And if you liked “The King Of Vagabonds” and Jack Shaftoe, The Confusion doesn’t disappoint. This is where the action heats up (think of the three books as one) Eliza figures prominiently as well. And Stephenson goes wild with ‘currency’. The wit, adventure, and drama in The Confusion is exemplary.

  3. I’m 20 pages into The Confusion and I can already feel it’ll be a better book than Quicksilver. Van Hoek and Dappa have shown up in the most unlikely place; and things are already interesting.

  4. I don’t know what made me get Cryptonomicon. It must have been a combination of reading a Stephenson article in Wired, and hearing about Cryptonomicon in Wired and on the ‘net. I used to read it during tutorials I think. It took a while to convince Ram to read it. Stephenson should write The Classical Cycle next.

  5. Mezan – What Wired article? Can you dig up a link?

  6. Here are two Wired articles by Neal Stephenson: Spew, Mother Earth Mother Board.

  7. Mezan – Thank you very much. And thank you Ram for introducing me this wonderful writer.

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