Harry Whitewolf's Reviews > The Amalgamist

The Amalgamist by Cristel Orrand
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it was amazing
bookshelves: general-fiction

I started this book just as I was entering a busy period in life, thinking I shouldn't have, as it would probably take me a while to finish it. And now here we are, two days later, having read the whole thing. The effortless storytelling of The Amalgamist will sweep you along. I became so entangled with not just the protagonist Miri, but also the other characters, that I just couldn't stop reading. And for an author I've not read before, that's a mean feat achieved in my appraisal.

The foreword says: “The story herein is an amalgamation. It's a point of philosophy. There are those who see the disparate parts, choose one or two and walk away. Then there are others who put them all together, and when done just right, create something better than the sum of their parts,” and indeed, the author succeeds at creating a multi-layered and brilliantly written world of perspective within an age old tale of: The Crossroads of Life.

On the surface, you have a woman in the process of moving on from the confines of a relationship towards freedom within herself and her actions, which paints a picture we can all relate to; those Naked Lunch moments in life where the ordinary folk become extraordinary, due to a set of circumstances, that we may have chosen ourselves, or were perhaps deity delivered, or perhaps the doing of a real life fairy godmother/guardian angel... O.K, those last parts I can relate to anyway! (Central themes of this book often reminded me of my own book; my own story.)

There are enough mysteries entwined throughout to keep The Amalgamist interesting, but above that is the great likability of Miri, Beth, Alex, Agnes... as each one's life interconnects to the past and the present and future in a six degrees of separation way. There's magic in this book if you want there to be. There's magic in this world if you want there to be. Did the world growing smaller change that beautiful, magical unknowing world we once had and are losing? Such questions can linger in one's head after reading this book, or you could just take the short cut and read it as the well written surface tale it is.

And the one thing that isn't addressed in the book blurb is just how funny this book is, even if in an introverted way. I often had a smile upon my face.
In Book One, the narrator expertly writes real life dialogue, letting one liner descriptions take a back seat, whereas Book Two, in Turkey, is written with all the abundance of colours and aromas that you would hope from a description of the country, as well as taking a strangely fascinating turn in narration.

At times the dialogue felt like it was a female Douglas Coupland, in that actually most people banter about things with sarcasm or humour, and it feels like you're just listening to a mate talk, rather than some fictional character. Hell, maybe I amalgamated into a character in the book myself... I guess I resonated so much with the characters because they felt to me to be the everyman/woman that's often not portrayed as being that in our media delivered perception of everyday.

Well done Cristel Orrand. Can't wait to read more.

Harry Whitewolf. (Author of Route Number 11: Argentina, Angels & Alcohol.)
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Reading Progress

November 21, 2014 – Started Reading
November 21, 2014 – Shelved
November 23, 2014 – Shelved as: general-fiction
November 23, 2014 – Finished Reading

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