Towers – Karl Fischer
“We were Towers and we shattered the sky.” So starts Karl Fischer's Towers. It sounds like a lyric or a line from a poem, doesn't it? Well keep that in mind, my little curious one, because that's what this book is, a massive love poem.
The basic plot is after a thousand years fighting giant monsters as a massive sentient tower, our hero, Alti, hopes to be reunited with his love Quantra in some sort of eternal paradise. However, once his thousand years is up Alti is dismayed to find, instead of paradise, he is once again just a human within one of the gigantic towers. He then sets out on a homeric odyssey to be reunited with Quantra and spend the rest of their mortal lives together. And homeric is right, this is an odyssey, not just on the journey that Alti endures but through his own physical transformation.
This, for me, appears to be the central question Karl is asking: what would you do for the one you love? How far would you go? It is this emotional question, and Karl's response and thoughts on it, which drive most of what's interesting about this book. In the end, this is a long epic love poem – look, my love, look how far I will go, how much I will endure, how much I will sacrifice, my world, my religion, my friends, even my body. You can't help but love someone who is willing to show his emotions like that.
As I said, this is a poem, and it stands or falls on the reader coming to terms with that. Do all the images hit home, not for me, but most of them do and that is enough. Some of the imagery I found confusing (that's probably a consequence of the speed I read it at) and some of the secondary characters were a bit hit and miss for me. But in the end, the main character of Alti and his emotional roller-coaster is what pulls you through.
So, all in all, my little curious one, do we recommend this book? Yes, you should read it. Karl is trying to tell you something important. We all start as Towers, emotionally separate from each other, and then as we grow and change and metamorphose we become powerful and vulnerable at the same time. We cry out for someone just like us, our own breed of monster, and if we're very lucky we may just find that someone who is a monster like us because in the end we're all monsters for the ones we love.