Acceptance is the third novel in The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer.
Finished on: 4.4.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other two books in the trilogy.]
Area X is still as much of a mystery as it ever was. But there is hope in one final expedition to at least gain some insight. Or stop the Area from growing. Or maybe the answers lie in the past of the Area, in the time where the lighthouse was still being taken care of and the Southern Reach didn’t exist yet.
Acceptance is an excellent conclusion, or rather lack of conclusion for the trilogy that ends as weird as it started.
Acceptance’ task isn’t easy: to conclude a series that is build so much on mystery and the unexplained. I know that I wanted both explanations and the more or less gentle mindfuck that the first two novels provided, so try and make that happen. Much to my surprise, although I had certainly hoped for it, VanderMeer succeeds in that balance with Acceptance, giving us explanations but at the same time making it clear how little explanations can mean at times – how little they sometimes bring us to actually understanding.
That it can’t have been easy to get to that point while writing the book is mirrored in the fact that it’s sometimes a little hard to read. It definitely requires full concentration. But I would definitely say that it’s worth the work, even if its tiring at times.
I loved the structure that brings together different threads of the story. I particularly enjoyed the Lighthouse Keeper’s backstory that fills so much in (though, again, not necessarily so that you understand things better). I just really liked the Lighthouse Keeper himself.
Parts of it are creepy. Parts of it are sad. Parts are beautiful, in a devastating way. And it taps into a feeling to dislocation that is rare, unsettling but not unpleasant.
Summarizing: If you enjoyed the first two novels, chances are high that you’ll enjoy this one as well.