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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In the Background: A Novel

Devin Wright's In the Background is a haunting and twisting novel that explores the complexities of the human condition. 

Death, just as life, is a complex mixture of who we are, what we wanted to be, and all of the missed opportunities in between. An artist is choosing to leave this life, albeit metaphorically--but why? As he works to make sense of his life and his world, we explore what is happening in his mind that has led him to his ultimate choice. It may be something much closer to home than ever suspected.

I enjoy picking up a book that has so much to offer and has the guts to explore the intricacies of the human condition with no holds barred. It takes cojones to dive deep into the soul of a man so distraught he has nothing to live for with no hesitations and no holding back. The reasons for any choices we make as humans are illogical, irrational, and difficult to understand, and a willingness to own those as a writer is a lovely gift to his or her readers.

Wright has a poetic lilt to his writing that still has the sharp corners and clean lines of a modern piece. His main character is clearly a man in pain, wrestling with his own demons while still being aware of how he looks to the outside world. The story begins at the end and then works its way back, which I found to be an interesting convention that allowed me as the reader to understand the confusion that was happening in his mind. What is ultimately the human condition? Is it the capacity to love and to be utterly torn apart by it? Or is it the capacity to hold on to a sinking ship and survive in spite of it? Ultimately--does it matter? Or we all just supposed to survive?

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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