Nothing Lasting by Laura Solomon
|Nothing Lasting by Laura Solomon|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A surreal fantasy, with scenes of horror which some readers may find disturbing.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 142||Date: August 2018|
|Publisher: Woven Words|
We never know the man's name but let's call him Boyo. It's what his mother used to call him, not least because he found it annoying. When we first meet Boyo his mother is alive, if not living as most people would understand it. She spends her days watching daytime television and drinking. Housework is a foreign country. When she dies she's not missed, firstly because she'd spent a couple of years in a mental hospital, but mainly because her ghost continues to haunt Boyo. She wants him to achieve something in his life: what she has in mind is that he could be a famous arsonist.
She's not going to let him be, either, as she pushes him into lighting fires. Cheap motels are a favourite with a cattery thrown in too. You're not going to be sure which country you're in either. I had a sense of New Zealand, but all the place names are to be found on a map of Antarctica. Let's not bother about where we are though because you're going to need to suspend any thought of reality: Nothing Lasting is surreal. Depending on your sense of humour you might find black comedy: I'm afraid it passed me by. This was probably because there is rather a lot of cruelty to animals which I found this deeply upsetting.
Nothing Lasting is, though, a superb picture of the development of a psychopath. There's a complete lack of empathy with anything - human or animal - although the first death which Boyo caused, albeit accidentally, did haunt his dreams. It doesn't stop him lighting fires though: they're his revenge for the times when he feels that he's been slighted by other people.
For a man who has no name, who is more of an absence than a presence, Boyo's character comes off the page frighteningly well and the inexorable descent into psychopathy is captured perfectly. His mother is more two-dimensional, but this works well as she's a ghost. We see more of the father whilst he's alive: he was an electrician, but after his death his views are channelled through Boyo's mother.
I've become something of a fan of Laura Solomon's writing over this last year, but this book was not one of my favourites. I do stress that it's a personal opinion, though: if reading about animal cruelty doesn't worry you then you may well view the book differently. I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The story did put me in mind of one of Solomon's later books. There are many of the same surreal elements, but I found it a rather better read.
You can read more book reviews or buy Nothing Lasting by Laura Solomon at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Nothing Lasting by Laura Solomon at Amazon.com.
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