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As a Thief in the Night Paperback – February 16, 2014
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About the Author
CHUCK CRABBE grew up in Ontario, Canada. Following his university football career, he signed a contract with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes. Shortly after, a serious illness and personal upheaval changed the course of his life. In 2000, Chuck accepted a teaching contract and moved to Syros, Greece. Here he travelled and studied the works of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Friedrich Nietzsche, and James Joyce. Chuck currently works as a teacher and lives in Brampton, Ontario with his wife Lesley and their children.
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I ordered this book after I read the short story called "The Dead Wait for Your Word" in Independent Ink Magazine. If anyone knows of anything else out there written by this author please let me know!
On the one hand, you have a coming-of-age story that perfectly captures the fragility, magic, and awkwardness of those delicate transitional years. On the other hand you have the journey of a young hero (or perhaps antihero) through the spiritual and epic struggles that define the entire human condition. If that sounds like a lot of weighty material to fit into one book, it is - but it is so well written and well edited that the reader is swept along on the journey without ever feeling bogged down.
For those of you who appreciate classic literature, you should be aware that this author is incredibly well read and educated. His book references mythological and biblical themes with an astounding vocabulary of psychology, archetypes and symbolism. This is the type of book that just isn't written these days; it could be analyzed by college literature classes around the world and still no one would agree on just exactly how to interpret it.
But most importantly, it is a really, really good story. I literally did not want this book to end. By the last page I was so caught up with the characters that it felt like young Ezra's struggles were my own, and leaving them behind was like leaving my own family and childhood. A necessary transition, but poignant with indefinable loss. Amazing.
The author, Chuck Crabbe, sets a serious tone throughout this odyssey of self-discovery. There exists an undercurrent of deep-thinking - a stimulus for any intellectual who enjoys reading 'into' the symbols, the haunting dreams (exceptionally well-done) which every human being has experienced. We shudder together in our commonality and vulnerability. Crabbe manages to make these elements particularly frightening.
The narrative flows with ideas: philosophy, mythological imagery, religious icons, and love of sports all figure to shape this young man who struggles with the adults in his life. Authority, abandonment, and love are issues he must face to determine his own direction.
As much as there are scenes of horror (dreams), there are moments of poignancy that are heart-breaking. For instance, speaking to his deceased mother, and his first attempt with girlfriend intimacy, are sections in the novel that are incredibly moving,
After you read this novel, it lingers. It remains in your mind, and in your heart. Well-done, indeed!
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