Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Book Review: The Darkened Corner by Tom Hamilton
I must admit that this story took me completely by surprise. Though compact, the story is packed full of detail, a carefully constructed plot and unfolding timeline of events directly contributing to the rather lack-luster and entirely expected ending. But, I can honestly say that although I did not like the story concept, this is in no way a reflection of the author's talent - which is immense.
The Darkened Corner slips quickly through the life of a self-depreciating alcoholic. Starting in the early years we see glimpses of innocence and a small boy dominated by an abusive, con-artist father. Hope for change is but a fleeting sentiment for this boy, growing up quickly in the shadow of his father's influence, we soon see that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Not even the speckled glimpses of admiration he has for the dark-haired beauty known only as Katie Rose can not lure him from the depressing depths of his own sad eventuality.
Now suddenly a man, our protagonist shows no growth, no moral vestiges worth saving, and no hope to broaden the dream he has of romancing the idea of Katie Rose into the present. This is why I didn't like the book. I felt dejected, disappointed and a constant sense of hopelessness reading this novel. The character has no ambition to keep his head held upright, and, if this is as the author intended, then brilliance is the only way to describe this tightly coiled pocket of darkness - the title for this novella the perfect description of the character's emotional and mental state.
Despite my personal feelings about the direction this novella took, I can say with absolute certainty that the author lived through this character as though clawing at the very depths of despair and finding comfort in the familiarity of ever-present non-expectation. The dialogue was very limited, so I cannot make much comment there, but the imagery ... oh my goodness. Tom Hamilton is without a doubt a master wordsmith. Every sentence is so carefully crafted with perfection. Every word descriptive in a way that make any situation appear tangible within the reader's mind. I could not get enough of the creative language, and I'm sad to say, that as a fellow author I'm supremely jealous of the author's talent in this area!
Based on descriptive content and the intent in which I believe the author was trying to portray means that I will be giving this novella three out of five fangs. I would love to see more from this author - a book perhaps, maybe even a thriller ...
The Darkened Corner cover seventeen years in the life of a traveller, con-man, self-hater, and hard drinker, and his continuing obsession with his childhood crush, Katie Rose.