Friday, June 14, 2013
HUGE RECOMMEND FOR RICHARD GODWIN'S "ONE LOST SUMMER"
When I was asked to provide a blurb for Richard Godwin’s new novel, ONE LOST SUMMER, I gladly agreed. I’m a huge fan of his work and looked forward to another great read. Well, I’ve finished it and. I know now that whatever I say about this brilliant novel will be less than it deserves.
This is without a doubt one of the best novels I’ve read in a long, long time. All the while I was turning the pages, it didn’t feel like I was reading but more akin to a physical sensation, like floating on water. And… a particular, unique body of water. I felt myself buoyed up and borne along as in a small raft, floating on an azure sea, not a cloud in the cobalt-blue, brittle ether above me, helpless and alone. For one of the few times in my life, I understand what the term “fictive dream” meant.
This is the perfect example of a “Jungian novel.” It’s a work of the shadow world that inhabits the deepest recess of the human mind and psyche. I’m not going to talk here about the plot. Yes, there is a plot but this is more than a plot and a character and stuff going on. This is a dream and you don’t read it; you experience it the same as you do when you find yourself in a dream and know you’re in a dream, but just as it is when you’re in a fugue state, helpless and being carried along to where you don’t know until Godwin deposits you there. It’s frightening to be under control like you are by the author, and, at the same time, exhilarating, as the thought first creeps into your mind and then firmly asserts itself, that you are in the presence of greatness and you feel almost unworthy of being there. This is a work of mad genius. And, make no mistake, you are in the presence of true literature.
Godwin has given us a clear and prescient look inside the mind of a madman and how that madness begins and blossoms and how the madman finally gains complete control of his insanity. This is T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” delivered in a contemporary play. Pay attention to the names of the characters and the locales as they provide the keys to understanding this novel. This novel is a paean to the “lost generation” and should, but won’t, become the anthem for these souls. Most scholars admit to not knowing exactly what Eliot had in mind when he wrote his poem, but I think Godwin has come closer than anyone.
This is a novel I will read again and again, but I confess I plan to wait at least six months between each reading as I won’t be able to work for awhile after reading it. It will discourage me too much as I know I’ll fear I can’t begin to approach its magnificence as a writer and that is paralyzing.
Kudos to Godwin—he has achieved a masterpiece!
From the promo:
Rex Allen loves star quality in women. He moves into a new house in a heat wave with few possessions apart from two photographs of his dead daughter. His next door neighbour, beautiful Evangeline Glass invites him to one of her many summer parties, where he meets her friends and possessive husband Harry. Rex feels he knows Evangeline intimately. He starts to spy on her and becomes convinced she is someone other than who she pretends to be. When he discovers she has a lover, he blackmails her into playing a game of identity that ends in disaster.
Hope you glom onto a copy!