The Followers Kindle Edition
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This provocative book suggests new dimensions of reality by taking you down the rabbit hole, completely avoiding the spoon-feeding of ideas.
"For each of us, there will come a time. A time at which we stop, and with the most confidence that we can have, we know. And we can draw a breath and say... that it was that day, or that event, or that string of thoughts, and emotions, that started it all."
"The Followers" is a small novella which I'm classifying as a mystery. To elaborate, it could be described as a psychological study - part multi-verse exploration, part unreliable narrator. If I were to draw a parallel to a movie, I would probably choose "Donnie Darko".
The main narrator is a young boy who climbs up a tree near his house which he refers to as his Spirit Tree. From there he sees a sinister creature prior to falling. Most of our journey is with the boy and the narrative itself is in the first person. However, there is also a secondary narrative in the third person from the perspective of a adolescent girl named Carly who is driving to a friend's place for drinks.
To concentrate firstly on the young boy, once he falls from his Spirit Tree, his narrative splinters into two parallel but quite different stories: one inhabits a surreal dreamscape, where he pursues the strange creature he saw just before his fall; the other seems to be a somewhat regular school day upon which a supernatural apparition has intruded. I'm not a big fan of dreamscape narrative. To me, it usually follows a sequence of fairly disjointed scenes and images which ends up feeling like a shopping list. Unfortunately, this novella was not an exception. The fact that this journey was intertwined with a slightly more regularly composed narrative actually made matters worse, the scenes cutting back and forth in a disorienting fashion.
After a while, Carly's secondary narrative is introduced, which served to make a fairly messy and tiring experience even more chaotic. Who is Carly? How does she fit in with the protagonist's story? Why should we care who she is and where she is going?
However, in the last quarter of the story, the author starts reaping what he has sown in the earlier stages of the novella. As I was reading, I was starting to feel that some images that had seemed so random earlier, were actually quite deliberate, and that the author was actually starting to work the different threads together. Indeed, the novella heads towards a rather clever intersection that left me with more appreciation of the story construction and not a few contemplative silences.
Overall, I felt that although "The Followers" was a rather intelligent construction when viewed in hindsight it was a case of the end not justifying the means, or at least not significantly enough for me to praise the work enthusiastically. Fortunately, although he might not have hit a sweet spot for me on this occasion, the effort has opened my eyes to this author and I'll be looking to sample more of his work to see if I can find something that uses a similar intelligence packaged in a format I can more fully appreciate.
Some of the reason why I loved his book "The Followers" was because of its suspense, its imagery, its two primary characters, and the triple twist at its end, and because of the fact that Evan Bollinger hooked me from its beginning. What's more, author Evan Bollinger kept me involved and glued to every page of "The Followers" as he dexterously unfolded his story of a mysterious portentous entity within an un-engaged middle class suburban community.
Evan Bollinger kept me engaged at a steadily ever-increasing pace from beginning to end and a pace that Mr. Bollinger has adeptly interwoven into the experiences of each character and plot. Evan Bollinger put into this story of "The Followers" only what is straight away essential and without any of the nonessential "fluff" that would have otherwise bogged me down.
The character development of Carly enthralled me the most. She was solid, memorable, and most of all she was authentic. The personal and captivating tone of the narrative continuously kept me roped-in. I felt as if I belonged as a part of the story due to Evan Bollinger's splendid storytelling and mastery over the written word. As the narrator follows an outwardly menacing but somehow familiar creature in his disengaged neighborhood, I felt as if I were "following" the narrator very close behind through every step of his experiences, and I was led not to miss a thing. Then at the very end of the narrative, I was catapulted into feeling as if I had actually become completely apart of the narrator himself. Now that is really becoming a part of the story.
As I followed the narrator and was pulled evermore curiously through the story, Evan Bollinger competently led me to an unsuspecting triple twist ending. In a still fulfilling way, the end did leave me to wonder - what next? - now what? I am hoping this will be the first book in a long series.
I personally judge a book by how long it stays with me after I have read it. The better it is, the longer it stays with me; I believe "The Followers" will be with me for quite some time. I believe Evan Bollinger has done his job of writing with superb talent and distinction. Mr. Bollinger is not only a skillful artisan, but he is also creatively brilliant as well, and I believe he will become even more so with time.
Most recent customer reviews
The Followers is a book that's much like a movie you have to see twice to get the subtle nuances inside it -- Memento,...Read more