Christopher's Reviews > Westlake Soul

Westlake Soul by Rio Youers
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's review
Oct 14, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 4-0-plus, fiction
Read in October, 2012

The main thing that made this unpredictable was the blurb on the back, which leaves open more possibilities than the story itself really shows to be likely. Although there's hope throughout the book that the main character's fantasies are real, they have no impact that the character himself (when describing others' fantasies) wouldn't attribute to coincidence, so the internal logic of the story undermines that hope, and the heavily telegraphed plot developments seem inevitable.

The narrator's informal, ostensibly "surfer dude" voice likewise seemed at odds with the author's efforts to build up poignant imagery in the clear, neutral language of contemporary realism. When the story aimed at something insightful, this fell flat for me--it was as if the narrator had been temporarily possessed. It might have made more sense and had more impact either for the surfer dude to be consistently informal and struggling to express something difficult for him or else for the narrator to be perhaps an aspiring science fiction writer, such that both his fantasies and his way of expressing them would fit.

Still, it was OK--a challenging premise with a competent execution.

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