Monday, January 19, 2015

Henry Martin's "Eluding Reality": (Book 3 of the Mad Days of Me Trilogy) 5/5 stars

This series displays Henry Martin’s versatility. Before I begin talking about anything, I have to say: if you’re thinking about reading this novel, stop thinking and get started. If for some reason you are reading this review and haven’t started this series, find the first novel “Escaping Barcelona” and read it.

Every novel reveals facets of his protagonist, Rudy. Thriller, suspense, romance, stream of consciousness, horror and realism, Martin dips his pen into all of these genres and more to tell Rudy’s story. Every one of these is represented well and coincides with how Rudy’s journey progresses. I will discuss all of this further in the series review. For now I will focus on the final novel ,“Eluding Reality”.

There are many things in this novel that are wonderfully subtle, including how the plot ties in with Rudy’s characterization and what everything leads up to in general. I believe Martin wrote the plot in this manner to mirror the existential battle within Rudy. Instead of being provided with the internal conflict directly, he opted to leave it open to thought. When you come to respect an author like I respect Martin, you know he has a purpose for everything. Rudy tries so hard to keep a grip on reality, taking what pleasure he can in the little things. Martin zeros in on these seemingly minute activities wherever Rudy goes, making sure that we are as focused on them as Rudy is: truly making us a part of Rudy’s journey. But, that is not why he did it. Rudy is eluding himself and the relationship that awaits him back in Ibiza. He can’t deal with the past. He knows he will have to face it down eventually, but until then, he tries to take control of the situation by being a nomad. This juxtaposes who he became in Barcelona, the difference being: he decides where he is going, and he decides when it is time for his meandering to end. While he is terrified of Barcelona and the quicksand of inner turmoil his homelessness created, he thrives in an environment of unlimited freedom. Ironically, it is the only thing that can help him suppress his past and carry on.

What follows is a portrayal of entropy that brought me to tears and caused me to inhale the novel until I came to the final image in the final paragraphs. I will not spoil a thing, but I had to take a few days before writing this review, letting the beautifully horrific end settle, so I could properly wrap my mind around it. It is beautiful because of Martin’s style and delivery, and horrific because of the image itself and the tragedy it depicts. Martin breathes life into Rudy’s darkest places with his imagery throughout the series, but “Eluding Reality” contains his most imaginative descriptions of Rudy’s demons.

I highly recommend this novel for anyone that enjoys unique, masterfully written literature. Every novel was fantastic, and the conclusion was stunning and evocative. I cannot wait to read Martin’s other work.

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