As a fan of the very weird and trippy Southern Reach trilogy, and a fan of crazy book covers that walk the line between art and self-published, I picked Finch off the library shelf looking for some of that patented Vandermeer weirdness.
I was not disappointed.
Detective Finch lives in the city of Ambergis (look it up if you want an extra layer to this world.) Ambergis seems to have been at war for as long as Finch has been alive, first with the Khalif empire to the north. Then in a brutal civil war. And now, it is under occupation by the Gray Caps, a race of mushroom people that rose from the underground and control the city.
Apparently this is explained a lot in other short stories of his, but I can safely say that you don’t need to read those to enjoy this book.
As with any noir detective story, Finch begins with a new case, a dead man and a dead Gray Cap. And of course, that case is the key to everything at the end. You know how the genre works. He tries to solve the case and falls deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole until “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.”
Finch displays Vandermeers intense talent for word choice. The city is a monstrous hybrid of fungal growths and rot. Smells get equal description time as new characters. So does touch, like how does a boat made out of organic material feel? The answer is: like it’s breathing.
A great lovecraftian story. Although it is a little weird for the average reader. I enjoyed reading Finch but I doubt I’ll think about it the same way I think about Annihilation. But if you’re a fan of Vandermeer’s I’d recommend a look.
2.5 out of 4 stars.