Friday, January 4, 2019

The Hollow Middle

The Hollow Middle by John Popielaski
Unsolicited Press: 12/4/18
Trade paperback: 382 pages
ISBN-13: 9781947021402

The Hollow Middle by John Popielaski is a so-so meandering discourse on a wide variety of topics via a brain-damaged man.

Albert Lesiak is a hard drinking English teacher at a parochial school in Connecticut. Mary, his long-suffering wife, is used to his benders and wandering ways, yet she still questions why she is stays with him. She also wants to foster parent or adopt autistic twin boys and is trying to talk Albert into this course of action. Albert, who in a round-about-way inherits a large sum of money from his father's death, decides to live a different life off the grid on land he owns in Maine.

The Hollow Middle covers a wide range of very random topics and Albert's opinion on them all, either at length or briefly, as they flit through his brain. The majority of the novel consists of Albert's random thoughts about everything and anything. A few topics include: drinking until you pass out, bird watching, environmental concerns, materialism, the media, politics, life lessons martyrs provide, mice, porcupines, fishing, measurements when building, and bodily elimination. Basically, some topics are absurd, some reactionary, some conjectural, some existential, some ordinary, and some transcendental.
I can't fault the technical quality of the writing, but I can point out that it is verbose. Those of you who have a friend or acquaintance who happens to be, say an English teacher, who knows all the words, and insists on using all of them, will recognize Albert. If this same individual holds and insists on sharing strong opinions about various and sundry topics, you will further recognize the character of Albert. If you are like me, and know many, many of the words and also hold strong opinions of your own, but with purpose and intent do not use all the words or proclaim all your opinions all the time to everyone, well, you may, like me be annoyed almost from the start with this character. This may be Popielaski's intent, but it made the novel a long slog during certain points. We are living in Albert's thoughts for most of the novel, with a few forays into Mary's thoughts, and by the end of the novel I was unequivocally weary of this character. Finishing this novel was an onerous task.

Although The Hollow Middle was not a good choice for me, I know that there are readers who will appreciate Albert's discourse.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Unsolicited Press for TLC Book Tours.

1 comment:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.