"I treaded the carpet backwards from my parent's door, alone and awake, and I caught sight of the painting of the cowboys at sunsets, smoke rising from their campfire in the foothills, black and even as it sought the coming darkness."
This is a powerful little story from first time author John Darnielle. I find it really difficult to find a story that keeps my attention when told in the first person, but I had no trouble charging ahead and sometimes backwards and to the side with this book. It is expertly written and anyone who is a fan of unique prose and sharp technique will enjoy this book.
The story is centered around the life of Sean Phillips and takes us across several dimensions of his life. Most of what is discussed is post "accident" where something horrific has happened to Sean's face. We find out what happened in the middle of the book, which really helps shift into focus the surrounding events of Sean's life. The why is what really drives this book, so much so that we are left wondering up until the last page. More so than the "accident", the central theme in this book is the power of the human mind. After his life shattering event, Sean creates a mail-in-of-sorts role playing board game, helping him scrape out some sort of income. He often retreats to the corners of his mind when out in public, or being gawked at in therapy, planning out the next series of moves. The disposition he carries as a result becomes impressive as he copes with the reality of his life's trajectory. Sean literary creates a different world inside his head and is able to function in real life because of it.
I really loved this book and suggest picking it up. Obviously a work of fiction, Sean's story is one that will stick with me for awhile. Not too mention one amazing book cover. Read this one people.