Gallery Books: 2/10/2015
eBook Review Copy, 352 pages
In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.
When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy, Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring coworker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind...
The Glittering World by Robert Levy is a recommended novel that encompasses fantasy and self-discovery.
The story in The Glittering World is told in four parts by four different characters. It opens with Michael "Blue" Whitley and his friends Elisa, Jason, and Gabe, all traveling from NYC to the Starling Cove Friendship Colony in Canada. The trip is partially a vacation, but mainly the others are accompanying Blue as he sells his deceased grandmother's house. What Blue does not anticipate is that memories from his past will reemerge and open up with unexpected results. When Blue and Elisa turn up missing it seems that the past is repeating itself. Or is there something else going on in the remote Canadian woods? Elisa's husband, Jason, and Blue's friend, Gabe, are left trying to figure out the mystery.
The narrative moves along swiftly and I had no qualms with the quality of the writing. Levy is an excellent writer and the story itself is compelling. The Glittering World will hold your attention, as you try to figure out what is going on and why (and who and how) as it quickly switches from a nostalgic trip with friends to a supernatural, mystical fantasy story. In some ways the self-discovery aspect of the novel was more compelling than the fantasy portion, but that could be due to the way the novel is written.
With each character narrating a different section, we never revisit or hear from Blue or Elisa after their sections are done. It's a quandary for me, as a reader. I understand and appreciate the shifting points of view for each section, but at the same time I find myself longing to hear from Blue again. The Glittering World lost the momentum it successfully built up for me at the end. It might have been more successful with a final chapter from Blue's perspective, giving closure to the whole novel. I liked it much more (four stars) until I reached the end and was left feeling unsatisfied.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Gallery Books for review purposes.