Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Review: Negative Space
Negative Space by Mike Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Dark fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those more interested in the journey than the destination, those who are more interested in the characters than the plot
Trigger Warnings: stalking, murder
My Thoughts: This is a very odd little book. I'll tell you right away that if you like a fast-paced plot with lots of action, you'll likely dislike this book intensely. Most of the book consists of naval-gazing and searching for meaning, with a subtle tension running through the whole book, since it is set during the time of the Rodney King trial, and that tension explodes toward the end with the riots. The book is about finding oneself, about learning to understand oneself, to face one's fears, to follow one's heart and dream. There are bits and pieces that are almost paranormal in nature—Dwayne's fascination with the paranormal, the artist Feldman's claims that he's a 300+ year-old alchemist—but we never see any proof of any of this, and we never find out what happens with Feldman and his Neo-Naturalist movement, other than the bits and pieces we hear from Ritter at the end.
The story is told from the point of view of a few different people. It's mainly Max that is followed, but we also spend time with Karen, Dwayne, James (a client of Karen), and Ritter, a journalist. Each of these people has an obsession of some kind, something that they are trying to find or understand about themselves. Most of this story is told in the negative space of what is not said, if that makes any sense. This is the sort of story I would bet that college English classes would read and dissect for hidden meanings. Definitely intriguing book, and if it sounds like something you might like, if you like the journey more than the destination, if you prefer character-driven plots, and enjoy a bit of naval-gazing in a book, then check this one out.
Disclosure: I received a copy from Curiosity Quills in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Negative Space tells the story of a provocative Los Angeles painter named Max Higgins, on the verge of local fame. The secret to his work's haunting allure? He collects photos of missing persons and incorporates them into his paintings, giving the often melancholy faces, as he puts it, a "home in his work." This fascination stems from the bizarre disappearances of people he knew growing up, including his father. Then, one day, someone recognizes a face in one of his paintings, and he is suddenly thrust into a journey as surreal as anything from his brush, a journey into his past that will determine irrevocably his future.
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