Apr 30, 2009: All the reviews so far are spot on. Here’s some additional thoughts on NMAI and why you might like to read it:
Initially, I was put off by the tagline "an experimental novel", raising visions of James Joyce and such ilk which might be more than the casual web browser wants to wade into. However, not to fear, NMAI is very readable, and in fact launches off to a fast paced start, quickly introducing important characters and plunging them (literally) into the heart of the plot.
As reviewers have noted, the story moves through a number of temporal and locational shifts, going back thousands of years into the past for the backstory of some of the immortal characters, back and forth in the central character’s life, and on toward the end of the world as we know it (or maybe as we don’t know it?). We find otherselves joining gifted but alienated university student Ethan Pitney dodging demons across campus, haunted by angels on a desert vision quest, and playing out his ultimate role in an Arthurian tragedy across a post apocalyptic landscape. Nevertheless, despite the non linear nature of the narrative, it is not difficult to follow these transitions; thanks to Gavin Williams’ clear and direct writing style (and the lay out of the chapter headings).
Probably what I most enjoyed about reading NMAI is the literary, mythological, biblical, and philosophical allusions which are richly woven into the fabric of the story. The Bible and the legends of the Round Table are the primary but by no means only important threads. Ironically, as a student of literary history, Ethan identifies himself with a trope – the child of destiny.
The story is beautifully and intricately crafted, having been thought out over many years. I must admit, I respect this novel a lot, but I don’t unreservedly love it, because I do have some problems with how some aspects of the plot and the nature of the characters play out. While this is my personal reaction, I know, however, everything in this story is as it is for a very deliberate reason; as its author intended it to be.
Amongst the sea of derivitive works, this is a highly original and interesting tale with a unique message and intensity. This will satisfy those looking for something a little different, deep and memorable, but also entertaining and exciting to read. Will be especially enjoyed by anyone who likes fiction that explores themes of mythology, philosophy, and theology.
And don’t miss Gavin’s original poems embedded in the story!
6 of 6 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!
log in to rate this review.