Friday, October 17, 2014

An Hour in the Darkness by Michael Bailey

An Hour in the Darkness

by Michael Bailey

Michael’s novel begins when his narrator, Franklin, suffers a bang on his head that jars his grasp on reality. Franklin begins his desperate journey through his home town in his search of love, forgiveness and understanding. He finds comfort in conversations with his young sister Jenny – but as he reveals himself to be a highly unreliable narrator, we must ask if Jenny exists or is merely a figment of his troubled mind?
Franklin is increasingly losing touch with reality when, against the backdrop of a local landmark he meets a man he believes to be God. This stranger tells of his own son who had similar problems and in his increasing confusion Franklin believes the man is likening him to Jesus. As Franklin’s life spirals further out of control his behaviour becomes ever more erratic, culminating in his touching, frightening attempts to win the affections of market-girl Ronnie, who is fascinated and frightened in turn by this strange, funny, ill young man.

Dealing with such universal themes as loss, love, guilt, forgiveness, relationships and mental health, this is an unsettling, but powerful, novel which will appeal to readers of books such as The Shock of the Fall.
*I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley*
The author has said that he was hugely inspired by J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and even though I am only a few pages into Salinger's book, I can definitely see it.  There is a tough-guy stream of consciousness feel to this book that I really like.  Franklin is a confusing character even before the bang on the head, and afterward his narration is a dark walk through madness. 
I really liked this one.  It kept me interested in the character because I was seeing the world through the eyes of someone who was insane.  It was refreshing, in a vaguely creepy way.  He's not a good person but I still felt a lot of empathy toward him.
I would recommend it to Salinger fans and people who love stories about madness.

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