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Disturbing peek into the mind of a mentally ill outsider,
This review is from: Fall (Hardcover)
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The book begins innocently enough. The three main characters - Julius, Noel and Fall - as well as their group of friends, attend a boarding school for the privileged. Fall and Julius are lovers, and Noel is Julius' roommate. Julius takes pity on Noel for his nervous tic, as well as his obvious lack of social skills, which keep him on the outside.
Noel begins to imagine himself in the inner circle, a part of Julius' friend group. He participates in sports he'd never have considered before, but since he wants to be one of the in crowd he goes along with it. Gradually, he becomes more and more violent as a way to fit in. The other young men play pranks on each other, but Noel's version starts going way over the top.
It becomes very obvious Noel is getting unhealthily attached to Julius and his girlfriend once he begins wearing Julius' clothes, and meeting Fall when Julius isn't around. He wraps himself up so much in Julius it becomes unclear which dialogue is really Julius and which is Noel imagining he's Julius.
The stream of consciousness style works well, considering one of the main characters is mentally ill and unable to form rational thoughts. It isn't always clear who's narrating, but it's not always necessary to know. The reader knows what's happened, who's at fault, and gradually the other characters learn the truth, as well.
A literary page-turner of a novel, I know some will not appreciate the stream of consciousness style. My advice? Just go with it. Don't bother stopping to figure out who's speaking. Enjoy the beauty of the language and decide for yourself what the meaning is of the more obscure passages. This is a chilling, and often poetic work. A wonderful read.