Thursday, August 25, 2011

book review: The Ascent of Isaac Steward by Mike French


"The black horse kicked hooves into the yellow sky; its long mane flowing north across southern plains. It stopped as a red light flared up before it and receded back onto the bonnet of Ishmael's F355 Ferrari. A young boy stepped out and started to wipe it down."

This book wasn't the easiest to follow at times but that's a result of the ambition of the imagination of French and as a reader you have to work hard to stick with it.

Isaac Steward is a fairly simple man when you first meet him but as his memories unfold around him you find out he is coning to terms with a terrible secret that has ripped his family apart and leads him to the very brink mentally and physically.

Once you start getting the pieces of the jigsaw you can get a grip of sorts on the story but this is a bit like a rollercoaster and they were times I was out of the car just holding onto the rail waiting for a period when I could climb back in and feel comfortable again.

That's partly because a decent chunk of the story happens in Isaac's subconscious where his good and bad memories are struggling to control his emotions. Bad memories have the power to do him great harm so happier times with punch and judy shoes on seas side holidays are ferried in to keep the equilibrium going.

the bad memories are locked up secure in HMS prison Gyrus but below the prison wals lies a beach where the punch and judy characters stroll and the battle for control of Isaac's mind plays out.

But if you have done something that caused great tragedy then it will at some point have to recognised and dealt with and sure enough the balance in Isaac's mind finally shifts to a place where facing up to those bad memories is unavoidable.

Partly because of the names, good biblical ones, and the appearance of angels and demons this has the feeling of being much more of a literal fight between good and evil.

This book wasn't that easy to read and there were moments I struggled to visualise hat was happening. But, and this is the important bit, I got something out of it and there was a story that worked for me so in that respect the book delivered.

3 comments:

winstonsdad said...

seems like a deep book simon ,all the best stu

parrish lantern said...

I like books that basically inhabit the mind of an individual, coupled with books dealing the idea of good & evil etc.

contactos en barcelona said...

Of course, the writer is completely fair.