Enthusiasm for The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

what an odd name for a book but whatever all kinds of weird titles are out there oh well let’s dive in

The book starts with a stark message all alone on a page of its own: “Demand better than back to normal.” It got my attention.

But then I was immersed in the story. The two main characters are both very likable each in their own odd, prickly way. Like Holmes and Watson, but if Holmes was aware of his shortcomings and tried his best, and Watson respected his own intelligence and didn’t automatically excuse Holmes’ antisocial behavior. The weather (on Jupiter) is gloomy — a big storm is brewing and it’s cold and foggy and blustery. There’s tea and scones and a nice meal at a cozy restaurant. (The dialog there, by the way, is a delightful Holmesian callback.)

This IS an atmospheric lesbian mystery in space, but of course there’s more. And I found that the title is a line from the book and it perfectly encapsulates the theme, the plot, the romance – all in one. It’s about losing (or perhaps ruining) something special, and the impossibility of ever getting it back just as it was. It’s the idea that you cannot remake what you lost, but perhaps you can make something else, something which has the potential to be even better. I was a little concerned when I found myself sympathizing with the baddies – but there was nuance and deeper understanding to be reached as characters pondered their motivations.

And the last line of the book melted my heart! So sharp and kind and poignant.

There’s more to this series, and this first installment earned an automatic pre-order of the second from me! Thanks for writing, Dr. Malka Older!

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