Lev Grossman's Codex

Has anyone read this yet? Any impressions?


In Lev Grossman’s “Codex,” an investment banker manages the neat trick of simultaneously getting lost in medieval England and a 21st century computer game.

Don’t tell me the guy gets sucked into a computer game.

Grossman, a book critic for Time magazine when he isn’t writing his own novels (or spoofing reviews on Amazon) is playing around with narrative in classic postmodern fashion. While Wozny is neither an expert in medieval literature nor a good game player, Grossman comes off as familiar with both. Part of the fun of “Codex” is watching Wozny get introduced to the birth of English narrative, incubated in the time of Chaucer and, at the same time, instructed in the state of the art of multiplayer interactive gaming plotlines.

Unsurprisingly, the narratives merge. There are mysterious connections between the 14th and 21st centuries, between the gaming world and flesh-and-blood reality. The plot is a mild page-turning thriller about which to reveal too much would detract from readerly enjoyment, but suffice it to say there are crazy duchesses, mysterious 14th century monks and awesomely geeky programmers. The ultimate twist of the master narrative is dour and abrupt, and at some points the whole exercise feels flat, but overall, “Codex” is a smooth, quick read.