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Strangers (2002)

Strangers (2002)
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Rating
3.96 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0425181111 (ISBN13: 9780425181119)
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English
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berkley
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Strangers (2002)
Strangers (2002)

About book: I must have forgotten how much I hate this book because here I am reading it again. There's a lot to hate, I mean, A LOT TO HATE, but I'll focus in on Koontz's utter contempt for Native American cultures and people this time. There's the ending diatribe but I'll get to that when I get there. Let's take a look at Koontz's writing of Jack Twist, the thief with a heart of gold, who is a former army ranger. Twist is thinking back to his last, or one of his last, assignments in Central America where he planning to rescue a few hundred Miskito from a School of the Americas-type place but before the reader starts to think that Twist really does have a heart of gold, or a FUCKING SOUL, Koontz is sure to educate the reader that Twist knows the real score:Nevertheless, twenty Rangers in mufti would not have been committed to such a dangerous raid merely to save Miskitos. Both left- and right-wing dictatorial regimes routinely slaughtered their citizenry in every corner of the world, and the United States did not—could not—prevent those state-sanctioned murders. But in addition to the Indians at the Institute, there were eleven others whose rescue, along with the Indians, made the risky operation worthwhile.Those eleven were former revolutionaries who had fought the just war against the now-deposed right-wing dictator, but who had refused to remain silent when their revolution had been betrayed by totalitarians of the left. Undoubtedly, those eleven possessed valuable information. The opportunity to debrief them was more important than saving the lives of a thousand Indians—at least as far as Washington was concerned.Well, as long as it's just Washington. What the fuck is this? Gah. Koontz, just shut the fuck up. Go back to describing sofa cushions and wallpaper. More to come as I read through this garbage.Thank god I am almost finished with this disaster. But I do have something else to comment on besides Koontz's self-inserted racism that doesn't make a lick of sense. Am I really supposed to believe that Ned and Sandy are in love and have a happy marriage? He married her to fix her; she told him nothing about herself and her past until they were married 8+ years. Yeah, she was not interested in sex but they did have it... and she never ever orgasmed before being Touched By An Alien? Seriously? Ned never ate downtown? Never?! That's not a happy marriage above and beyond my first points.I am not even going to both to comment on the following passages. If you don't see what's wrong with them, I can't help you on Goodreads.And anthropologists tell us that when an advanced culture interacts with one less advanced, the less advanced culture suffers a loss of confidence in—and often a complete collapse of—its traditions, institutions. The primitive culture loses respect for its religions and systems of government. Its sexual practices, social values, and family structures deteriorate. Look what happened to the Eskimos following their encounter with Western civilization: soaring alcoholism, family-destroying generational conflict, a high rate of suicide.... It’s not that Western culture is dangerous or evil. It isn’t. But our culture was far more sophisticated and richly textured than the Eskimo culture, and contact led to a serious loss of self-esteem among the Eskimos that they’ve never regained and never will.” [This from a Catholic priest which makes complete sense and infuriates me at the same time.]Again from the priest: “But part of Jesuit education involves a hard look at both the good and bad results of the Church’s efforts to spread the faith to backward cultures throughout history. The general feeling is we did a disturbing amount of damage even as we brought enlightenment. Anyway, we study a lot of anthropology, so I can understand the concern of the CISG.” [This is about as much weight as Koontz will give to the idea that western culture is not the be-all and end-all of ALL THE GOOD THINGS IN THIS WORLD.]“Consider the American Indian. Ultimately, the white man’s guns didn’t destroy them; the clash of cultures did them in; the influx of new ideas forced the Indians to view their comparatively primitive societies from a different perspective, resulting in a loss of esteem, a loss of cultural validity and direction. According to what Mr. X told Father Gerrano, the CISG believed contact between mankind and very advanced extraterrestrials could have those same effects on us: the destruction of religious faith, a loss of faith in all governments and other secular belief-systems, a rising feeling of inferiority, suicide.”Right. So "comparatively primitive" that the US Constitution took many ideas from the Iroquios Confederacy. Should I even try to get into the fact that indigenous cultures are extremely different through out the United States but even in all of those differences women and children typically fared better? And elders too. JFC this is infuriating to me on so many levels. After a while, Parker sighed and said, “Personally, I think the CISG was full of crap. First contact wouldn’t destroy us.”“I agree,” Stefan said. “Their fallacy lies in comparing this situation to our contact with primitive cultures. The difference is that we aren’t primitive. This will be the contact between one very advanced culture and another super-advanced culture. Yeah, well, I can't say that I agree with advanced meeting the super-advanced. Not even a little bit. All of this blah-blah yay aliens bullshit instead of something that might actually challenge the reader? I know, asking too much and all of that. Seriously, had I not read a bunch of Koontz novels that I seriously enjoy (present tense because I do and will continue to re-read them) and read this POS first, I'd never ever have picked up another Koontz. However, just the mere existence of STRANGERS always has me hesitating to fork over cash for a Koontz novel - I do not want to subsidize this sort of ignorance.

I read Strangers years ago, and it's probably about time for a reread. For me, it's that good, my second favorite Koontz book behind Watchers which was written in 1987, the year after Strangers was published.Dominick Corvaisis, authorGinger Weiss, surgeonErnie Block, U.S.M.C. (ret.), and his wife, Faye BlockBrendan Cronin, priest and curateJack Twist, former Army Ranger and P.O.W., professional thiefJorja Monatella, formerly Rykoff, Las Vegas casino cocktail waitressSix people, six...wait for it...Strangers!, each afflicted by different and...wait for it...strange! maladies, each unable to figure out on his/her own what is causing the somnambulism, fugue states, nyctophobia, loss of faith, among other...yeah, here it is again...strange happenings. Strangeness all around. And just in time for Halloween! Strangers is a doorstopper of a book, the paperback version hefting 681 pages of ink. And that's just fine with me. If an author does it correctly, the longer the book the better. Koontz does it correctly here. What I love about this story is that it pulled me into each character's life, peeling away layer after layer, exposing the hopes and fears and anxieties of the characters, but it's not just their hopes and fears and anxieties, it's also ours. We all have those hidden parts of our lives that we dare not let anyone else discover. No, no. We keep those areas in the back corners of our hearts, not daring to expose our weaknesses and worries. Not daring to become vulnerable, never quite understanding that we're already vulnerable, no matter how much we may fight against that. All of us are vulnerable. It's when these six characters come to terms with what their suffering, admit their vulnerability, and rely on each other for help, comfort, and strength, where the story really takes off. Again, we all need the help offered by others at times, the comfort of family, and the strength that comes from the numerous friends we all have. I loved watching this band of strangers come together, find strength in each other, press forward to discover the common secret they all share (even though they don't at first know what that secret it) and confront their common enemy. And when they find out that their common enemy is a lot closer than any of them imagined...well, enough said on that. If all you've read of Koontz is the stuff he's put out the past ten years, and you'd like to get a taste of what he used to write before he fell in love with golden retrievers and Odd Thomas and single-sentence paragraphs, check out Strangers. It just may be a breath of fresh air and spur you on to more of Koontz's earlier works. Next up in the review queue, I'll write about an Orson Scott Card novel that had me crying like a baby during the last ten pages. And no, it's not Ender's Game. You know, the man has written a bunch of other books beside the Ender series!
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Reviews
Tracy
I have had this book on my TBR for fur years and really not sure why. Koontz is by far my favorite author and it takes me more than usual to read a Koontz book since I love to savor the words on the pages. I read this one in a little under two weeks and I love it.As usual, Koontz writes an appealing, unique plot about humanity. He brings together the most unlikely characters that bond in the most unlikely way. To say that this story is very thought provoking is a little mild because Koontz always provides us with the stories that probe at our minds and emotions.Koontz uses an extremely diverse cast of characters to tell this story.Jack- thiefJorja- waitressMarcie-Jorja's daughterBrendan- priestDon-autorGinger-surgeonErnie-ex-marine and hotel ownerFaye-Ernie's wifeNed-restaurant ownerSally-Ned's wifeParker-artistI loved each and every one of them.
Kevin
Strangers Strangers is a story about friendship, inner strength and survival. Dean Koontz manages to weave a complex tale filled with many colorful characters. (There are nine main characters and two sub-characters to keep track of in this lengthy novel). A roadside motel and its neighboring diner are the main backdrop for the story, but Mr. Koontz manages to take us coast to coast as the plot unfolds. Somehow, a group of complete strangers seems connected though none can remember ever having met. The roadside motel is the common factor each of the characters share. The book moves at a very good pace. The 698-page length seemed like 300 pages. I could not put the book down. I read the Berkley paper back, which contains a nice afterward from the author, this proved insightful and humorous, completely on par when concerning Mr. Koontz. I highly recommend this novel.
Paul O'Neill
I'm giving this book 3/5 as an average. Id rate the first 500 pages as 5/5. He had me flicking through the pages with ease, not having a clue what was about to happen. I give the last 200 odd pages 1/5. The end of the book was hard to read. So cheesey. I wish that Dean would be more daring, kill off a main character or add actual elements of horror instead of having it all being perfectly and reasonably explained. A decent book, but if what other people's reviews have said about his 'formula' it might be my last Dean Koontz book... Which is a same because Watchers rocked!
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