This is a short book that is packed full of emotional intensity. It is melancholy in tone, describing the disintegration of a personality as a result of an affliction. Tom Lee manages to include moments of tenderness with confusion and moments of extreme paranoia and violence in a story that has the reader straining to make sense of the path they are following.
For a large part of the reading, I was expecting this to turn into a ghost story, but upon coming to the ending, I found myself shocked and appalled at where James Orr’s plight and attempt to find a new normality had led him.
For the most part, the reader is placed in the position of a voyeur, watching the suburban life of a family, struggling to maintain appearances while the father figure becomes a recluse in his own town due to the onset of Bell’s Palsy and its refusal to go away.
Concentrating on James, we see a competent business man, the fracturing of his ability to continue with everyday responsibilities and the emotional impact this has on not only the way he changes the way he deals with others but also with himself.
The story has an enormous depth and is one that is easily read in one sitting if you are in a mindset to walk through the depths of the emotion, the strangeness of situations and the traumatic and somewhat enigmatic ending.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: December 2017
RRP: $24.99 hardcover