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  • By Devon Kappa
    Oct 15, 2009
    "A mature and affecting novel" Over a year ago, I wrote a brief review of Saints Visible by "Justin Gil" (also available here on Lulu). I described the novel as a "charming, folksy tale" with considerable "laid back charms," although I found the resolution to be "rather abrupt" and "too easy." I have been told that Voltage, attributed to a "Justin Conwell," is in fact the same author's second novel. Based on the evidence of the two books, I certainly believe it. Voltage demonstrates the same strengths as Saints Visible: a clear, inviting writing style that immediately draws the reader in. Voltage, however, is a considerably greater triumph, as it marries those strengths to a much more mature and involving story. With its themes of suicide and long-buried memories, the novel may sound exceedingly glum or melodramatic. And indeed, as one might expect, Eric's buried memories do conceal a tragic story that ultimately... More > impact his present as much as his past. However, Voltage is not a melodrama. Rather, Voltage is a tragedy, in the most positive (if not quite Grecian) sense of that word. Like any good tragic hero, Eric is both deeply flawed -- indeed, infuriating at times -- but also deeply, recognizably human. Conwell draws us into Eric's tale slowly; although dark rumblings can be heard from the start, the early part of the book is fairly relaxed, and even whimsical. But as the story progresses, we grow to care about Eric and his traveling companions (including romantic interests both actual and potential). When Eric's failings and history inexorably surface, there is nothing flashy or over-the-top about the results; everything in Voltage feels real, and plausible. And this quiet power makes Eric's journey all the more affecting. Indeed, by the end of the novel Eric and his friends have all learned, in one way or another, that you cannot run away from your past. This is, of course, an ancient literary theme, dating back (at least) to the aforementioned classical Greek tragedies. Yet Voltage distinguishes itself through compelling characters that make its exploration of this well-worn trope feel fresh, powerful, and, ultimately, heartrending. Saints Visible was worthwhile as a cute "feel good" book; Voltage, by contrast, is a genuine work of art.< Less
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Product Details

Publisher
Saltboy Bookmakers
Published
April 26, 2007
Language
English
Pages
268
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
Weight
0.59 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
4.25 wide x 6.88 tall
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