Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading


DAD.A. by Connie Willis


I adore Connie Willis.  The first book of hers I read was To Say Nothing of the Dog, and it was one of those books that I bought on impulse, thinking I would probably never read it.  It lingered on my shelf for several months before I finally took the plunge, and was pleasantly surprised with the story.  It was interesting, sweet, compelling, and tight, all with this sort of style that seemed effortless.  From that moment on, I was hooked.

D.A. is considered a novelette, but really, it’s a short story.  It’s 76 pages, with full-page illustrations and wide typespace with a larger-than-average font, and I finished the book in less than an hour.  Frankly, I don’t care; it’s a new Connie Willis story, and I’m all over that like cold on ice.  It’s been at least 6 years since Passage, and if all I can get between then and her next novel is a couple of short stories, I can deal with it.  My only issue is that Willis really shines when she’s given the length of time to really develop a plot and characters.  Both Inside Job and D.A. are good stories, with clever ideas, but are too short to really get a sense of her precision.   Plus, one of the aspects of her stories that I always enjoy — the romantic subplots — was entirely missing in this story.  It read more like a YA story, since it’s about a high-school girl who’s essentially kidnapped to participate on an elite space station, and there was no sense of a love interest in the story.  I suppose that’s fine, but that aspect of her previous stories lends it more into the realm of slapstick which, oddly, works perfectly well in her fiction.  I was disappointed to find it lacking in D.A.

Of course, like any of my favorite authors, Willis’ mediocre works are a far cry better than some of the best works by other authors, so this is a small criticism.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone start reading Connie Willis with this book (Bellwether or Doomsday Book are better starting points), but it’s a tasty appetizer to hold me over until she finishes her next novel.


October 3, 2007 - Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews

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