I’ve been trying to read this book for years.
The Baroque Cycle.
I think that this was my fourth attempt at trying to read it. I found a post from last year when I was trying to read it as well. I was at page 150. Currently, I’m almost halfway through the 900 page monster. I’m a Neal Stephenson fan. I’ve enjoyed Snow Crash, Crypotnomicon, and other Neal Stephenson books.
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson is the first volume of his series The Baroque Cycle. The second and third volumes (released in the second and third quarters of 2004 respectively), are entitled The Confusion and The System of the World.
Quicksilver is set in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, mostly in England, France, and the United Provinces, with sections that take place further east and in Massachusetts. The scenes from the 18th century are narrated in the third person present tense, while the scenes from the 17th century are third person past tense.
- Zodiac (1988)
- Snow Crash (1992)
- Interface (1994) as Stephen Bury with J. Frederick George
- The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995)
- The Cobweb (1996) as Stephen Bury with J. Frederick George
- Cryptonomicon (1999)
Quicksilver is the first part of a series of books named The Baroque Cycle. The Confusion and The System of the World are the next two parts. Stephenson enjoyed writing a novel with historical figures such as Leibniz and Newton. There are so many characters in this novel and so many different places, that it gets disorientating after a while.
The novel finally started making sense after 250 pages. I finally got into Daniel Waterhouse and his story. But before I could relish it, the first book of the novel was over. The second book named King of the Vagabonds stars Half Cocked Jack Shaftoe. The first book’s name is Quicksilver. The third book is Odalisque. All these books are contained in Quicksilver the first volume of The Baroque Cycle.
The second book is tantalizing. Now I’m wondering what is going on with Daniel Waterhouse. The first book kept oscillating between the 1670s and 1713, all told from the perspective of Waterhouse.
Right now, I’m at page 384 of 916 and I’m fairly confident that I will be able to finish it this time. It will keep me occupied for this week. I’ve brought The Confusion and The System of the World with me as well. The System of the World isn’t even unwrapped. I bought the books last year. I remember when I was trying to read War and Peace when I was 11 or 12. It was the hardest book to read. It was such a brick. I had stopped reading it for a few months, and the soldiered on through 200 pages of troupe movements and battlefields.
There is only one other book that I had that much trouble with, and that was Baudelino by Umberto Eco. I was able to finish Umberto Eco’s last book, the Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. This takes me back to when I was reading the Foucault Pendulum buy Umberto Eco. At least, this was the French translation. The French translation used such complicated words that I had to read parts of it with a dictionary by my side.
I seem to remember that getting into The Terror by Dan Simmons took a while as well. However, I finished that book pretty quickly.
This whole Neal Stephenson thing started back in 1999 when a girlfriend gave me the Cryptonomicon for my birthday. I was 23 and enjoyed science-fiction. She was studying literature.