Five words from the blurb: knots, hair, Emperor, lifetime, belief
The Carpet Makers is a science fiction story that contains enough elements to entertain everyone, including those who don’t normally enjoy the genre. It begins on a planet where the people have spent thousands of years weaving intricate carpets for the Emperor’s Palace. Each carpet takes a lifetime to create and is made from the hair of the artist’s wives and daughters. The people live happily until one day strangers arrive, claiming that the Emperor has died and there is no longer a need for their carpets.
I loved the first chapter of this book! The introduction (written by Orson Scott Card of Ender’s Game fame) explains that it originally began as a short story and was only expanded into a novel at a later date. I think this shows. The first chapter was the best part of the book by a long way. The rest felt disjointed, like a series of short stories that often had little relevance to the book as a whole. Only one other chapter (the one with the Emperor) really impressed me:
The text was easy to read and contained many glimpses of brilliance, but I was often confused about what was happening. New characters were continually introduced and it was only towards the end of the book that everything came together and I understood the purpose of the story.
But, despite my reservations, I was impressed by many elements of this book. The concept was original and the moral messages were thought provoking. I particularly liked the discussion about society’s need to believe in something greater than itself. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m very glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little different.