Tigana

  • by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 24 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel, despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.But after years of devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name: Tigana.

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Customer Reviews

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Says a lot about who we are.

I believe the best way to describe what was for me the essence of Tigana is to quote a passage from the afterward of the book by the author Guy Gavriel Kay:

“... there's a play called 'Translations', by Brian Friel. It is basically an extended, passionate debate between a village priest in Ireland and the leader of an English survey team that has been traversing the countryside, mapping it carefully and - more importantly - changing the names of places, from Gaelic to English. Both men are aware of what is at stake: when you want to subjugate a people - to erase their sense of themselves as separate and distinctive - one place to start (and it is sometimes enough) is with their language and names. Names link to history, and we need a sense of our history to define ourselves. When Maoist China decreed that history began with their own Long March and introduced an education system to back that up, thereby eradicating thousands of years of the past (or trying to), they knew exactly what they were doing.

It is hardly an accident that separatist movements so often involve attempts to reclaim a lost language. In Provence highway signs give place names in both French and the almost-lost Provençal tongue. The independence movement in Wales has incorporated attempts to reclaim their language as one of public discourse (a reaction to the English refusal to allow it to be used in schools or even schoolyards once upon a not-so-long-ago time). In Quebec, the often bitter struggle between Separatists and those who wish to remain a province of Canada finds a battleground in language all the time. Tigana was an attempt to use magic to explore these themes: erasing a people from the record of history by stripping them of their name.”

This is what Tigana was mostly about. I did not at first make the connection between the author’s work and the land of “The Troubles.” I knew the Maoist adulteration of history but never understood the Quebec struggle over language. After Tigana, I think that I have a better feel for all those times and places.

It seems this year I have read more than a few books on the subject of memory. This was not by design; it just sort of happened. The books were all quite different and on various aspects of memory. If not the best, Tigana was at least the one I enjoyed the most. In a number of others, it is made quite clear academically that memory defines, maybe for the most part, who we are. However, in none of these others is that more beautifully illustrated than in Tigana.

The book was narrated by Simon Vance. What more can I say.
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- Robert "Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books."

Tigana

Any additional comments?

I forget how I came upon this excellent author, but once I had downloaded it–read by the lyrical Simon Vance, who could, as they say, read a phone book and move you to tears –I could not put it down. Extremely engaging, extremely witty and also–extremely troubling. Violence, grotesque and nightmarish violence, is always at your elbow in this book–and in subsequent books of the author that I have encountered. There is also a certain amount of explicit sex. Not for the fainthearted, nor for the squeamish–which would usually include me, but somehow, didn’t, this time.

The story takes place in a fictional world, which however has a solid believable presence, and a tenuous relationship with medieval Italy. But so what, you say–many fantasy books are based on medieval history, many books blend fantasy with believable real world details. What this book has is all that–but also, elegant language and exceptional plotting. This is a skillful work of art, filled with gorgeous images and a certain zest for life, for singing, for drinking with friends. And even, something of a happy ending, a thing of which I am inordinately fond.

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- Hope

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-07-2009
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio