Just before I start I wanted to say thank you for all your lovely comments on my last few posts. University and finishing my teaching placement has been insane over the last few weeks so I haven’t been able to reply individually but I wanted to say thank you, I’ve read them all!
So on with the review. The Carpet Makers was a book which I picked up on a whim during my most recent trip to the library. I was drawn to it on the shelf because it stood out from the other offerings. Amongst the usual dark spines of the fantasy and sci-fi novels the white cover of this book stood out like a sore thumb. It helped that the title wasn’t your average sci-fi one as well. I admit it, I was intrigued.
The first chapter reads like a bit of a fairy tale really, the opening sentence setting the scene for a story which you think you know where its going.
‘Knot after knot, day in, day out, for an entire lifetime, always the same hand movements, always looping the same knots in the fine hair, so fine ad so tiny that with time, the fingers trembled and the eyes became weak with the strain- and still the progress was hardly noticeable. On a day he made good headway, there was a new piece of his carpet perhaps as big as his fingernail.’
But you would have been fooled. I was fooled. I expect every one who has ever read this book has been fooled. This story doesn’t end up where you expect. The chapters link in un-expected ways, characters cross paths when you least expect it and the stage is so much bigger than you first imagine.
It has been translated impeccably from German and the translation flows so well that you wouldn’t immediately know that you were reading a novel in translation. Most upsettingly this is the only novel by Eschbach that has currently been translated in to English, and my reading will be so much poorer for it. Read this book to be amazed at the cleverness of the story construction and then to be heart broken because unless you speak German this is your only opportunity to bask in Eschbach’s prose.