Books that have stunned you.

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#1
I'd be interested in hearing about any books that when you read them, stunned you. By this, I mean that the story took you in, you did not see where it was going and then *BAM*, you are sitting in a daze, feeling completely in awe of a book.

For me, it is The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell. Superb book, that had tears rolling down my face. A masterpiece. It's a shame that Children of God didn't live up to it.
 

rai

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#2
One book I recall much about, the exact time and where I bought it and how I talked about it to others (etc..) is..

'Moby Dick'

got this from an Amazon review sums it up

The blurb from D.H. Lawrence on the back cover agrees: Moby Dick "commands a stillness in the soul, an awe...[it is] one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world."
 
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thepaladin

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#3
Nothing new comes to mind right now but I'll try to remember and come back if I come up with one. i just wanted to tell you I agree with you about The Sparrow.
 

Omphalos

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#4
Books never really stun me. Movies certainly do, but not books, probably because they unfold at the speed of reading, which is probably close enough to the speed of cognition for all of us that its hard to stun with a book. However, I remember being blown away by Tim Power's The Anubis Gates. That one was really fast moving and kind of took my breath away. When I finished it I went "whew!"
 

Fried Egg

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#5
"Nineteen eighty four" by George Orwell stunned me. Other books have had quite a strong impact but none quite as deeply as this effected me. I was quite shocked.
 

Urien

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#6
The bulk of these were first read when I was in my teens and early twenties; inevitably at that stage in life the impact is multiplied by the shock of the new. Age and experience diminishes the chance of encountering the truly new, and thus the chance of being "stunned"; fortunately it doesn't seem to have completely dismissed it.


"Blood Meridian" McCarthy, "The Lord of the Rings" Tolkien, "Crime and Punishment" Dostoyevsky, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" Solzhenitsyn, "The Bonfire of the Vanities" Wolfe, "Lord Foul's Bane" Donaldson, "I am Legend" Matheson, "The Art of War" Sun Tzu, "Gormenghast" Peake, "The Wasp Factory" Banks.
 

GOLLUM

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#7
There would be several but I'll nominate Steven Erikson's Malazan, particularly the third book Memories of Ice. Now that stunned me and left me in complete awe of Erikson's ability to weave an entire mythology/magic system so convincingly and not signpost events.

EDIT: Yes, you see... Urien already listed 2 in Matheson's I am Legend and McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Both Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane and Gormenghast were pretty amazing reads when I covered those in my early 20s too... :)
 
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elvet

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#9
The first time I can remember is in the last book of Fionavar Tapestry (The Darkest Road).....
Spoiler ahead!
.. when Diarmuid dies.
Just getting started in fantasy, I was reading mostly the happily ever after kind. Once I started branching out in to other fantasy books, I realized that less predictability made for a more gripping read.
The Malazan books took that to a whole new level. I remember the end of Deadhouse Gates where I was so emotionally invested that I had to get online immediately just to commisurate with other readers. I thought I had weathered the worst of it, then Memories of Ice affected me in the same way.
 

GOLLUM

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#10
...I thought I had weathered the worst of it, then Memories of Ice affected me in the same way.
Great minds think alike eh?.... ;)

I don''t think I found Fionavar Tapestry awe inspiring but I do recall it made quite a strong impression on me in the '80s and that it was one of the SFF reads of the decade...as I was fairly new to the Genre then.
 

Perpetual Man

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#11
I quite often find that it can come down to a single moment in a great book that leaves me stunned, and there are very few books that manage to do it - have those moments that make a shiver run down your spine and go wow!

Books that have managed that for me (all for different reasons) are:

The Hammer of the Sun by Michael Scott Rohan
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
Stronghold by Melanie Rawn
The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson
 

GOLLUM

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#12
AH...Scott Rohan is IMO a very underrated and sadly not widely read author. His descriptions of the ICE as a malevolent evil is unsurpassed in fiction to my knowledge. Reminds me a little of Paul Kearney in that respect. Tigana and Bonehunters are also great reads.
 

BookStop

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#13
The Time Traveler's Wife did that to me the first time I read it. After the last word, you just pull the, now closed, book to your chest and feel the weight of the story against your pounding, wrenching heart. *sigh* Yeah.
 

Connavar

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#14
The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
The Dying Earth Tales by Jack Vance
The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas was the first book to stun me in that sense its showed me how much you can care for a story.

The other two books are by literary talented masters whose words are always a joy to behold,read and their best stun me more than any other writer.

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett, for the innovative prose style,wit,dialogues,the greatest PI.

The Dramatist by Ken Bruen, a modern masterwork,character wise one of the strongest books i have read. My book pusher warned me before reading it that was his darkest book. I was depressed for days after reading it.

Other books i remembered that was stunning.

I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
The Drawing of the Dark - Tim Powers, a criminally underrated book and much stronger than Anubis Gates imo.
Flow My Tears,the Policeman Said - Philip K Dick
 

Connavar

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#16
Very nice choices Conn.... :)
It was hard choice since i have read so much in recent years you cant remember everything on the top of your head.

I limited myself to novels. Otherwise i would have added short story collections REH,Poe,Borges,Hodgson etc
 

Toby Frost

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#17
The Island of Doctor Moreau - HG Wells
Essays - George Orwell
The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights - John Steinbeck
Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake
Quartered Safe Out Here - George Macdonald Fraser
King Solomon's Mines - H Rider Haggard
Books of Blood, 1-3 - Clive Barker

Although it's not quite as good as these, I was also recently very impressed by Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. An excellent book.
 

Daisy-Boo

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#19
I've read so many books that touched me deeply but I'd have to say that certain books I read as a child evoked the most profound emotions.

One such book, that I read when I was about 9 or 10 was Mister God, This is Anna by Sydney Hopkins (written under the pseudonym Fynn). I felt like a door into a strange and wonderful new land had appeared before me. A few years ago I found a copy of the book in a used-book store but I still haven't plucked up the courage to re-read it. I'm afraid I'll be disappointed, reading it again as an adult.

S.E. Hinton's YA books stunned me, especially because she had her first book published at the age of 17. I was about 14 when I discovered her books and it was the first time I read fictional books about teenagers who struggled with issues like gangsterism, abuse, drugs, alienation and so on. At that age I was grappling with some of the same issues and it was a revelation to read books by a writer who seemed to know what I was going through.

One book I read as an adult that contained passages that touched me deeply is Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley. The book is set in the world of horse racing and is written from the perspectives of several characters, including two horses. One of the horses, Justa Bob, is one of the most amazing fictional characters (human or animal) I've ever encountered. I fell in love with this horse and...I'm not exaggerating...I felt a physical yearning to be able to put my arms around him and just be in his presence. It embarrasses me a bit to admit that but that was how I actually felt. :eek:
 
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#20
I quite often find that it can come down to a single moment in a great book that leaves me stunned, and there are very few books that manage to do it - have those moments that make a shiver run down your spine and go wow!
Absolutely ... sometimes it's just one sentence but it packs a punch and a half and does leave me stunned. Some of the books are:

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The cats of Ulthar by HP Lovecraft
If On A Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino

and there is more ...
 

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