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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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Top customer reviews
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The writing is unfussy, the story concise but as hardy as its fishermen, and the sum total is powerful. A novel that stays with you after you've put it back on the shelf.
A former Boston fireman whose soul is marred by his past choices arrives on a remote Aegean island with just a duffle bag and a head filled with regrets. He is confronted with a people whose livelihood is at risk, an environment under threat, a woman who is as wildly unpredictable as only a committed animal activist can be, and a dolphin called Yukon. But why should he care? He becomes a barman in a taverna. The narrator may have been one of Boston's Finest but he's a classic anti-hero and that's what makes his story more intriguing. David Hogan offers no easy routes to his redemption.
Some of the passages describing swimming with dolphins are as tender as you'll ever read and drive home more successfully than any environmentalist literature how much we stand to lose if man has his way over nature.
The idea of things dying is an underlying theme, but also of chances running out. The Last Island offers hope. I didn't expect to enjoy this novel even half as much as I did and came away with so many questions I would love to ask the author over a lazy beer. Or an ouzo.
You will enjoy this novel.
Hogan juxtaposes a man paying penance for a life seemingly bleached of any emotional attachment with a woman whose life is guided by the connectedness of all living beings to each other and the earth. This comes with a backdrop of a community at risk of losing the simple yet challenging life they know as they rebuff efforts of modernization. Hogan's nuanced character portraits draw you in, as you appreciate what is at stake for each of them, and it is impossible to not feel sympathy.
Another indication of good art: you find a little bit of yourself in it. Several of Hogan's characters represent an extreme - an almost impossibly detached soul and an unapologetic idealist, for example. And yet, I found myself alerted, and maybe a bit altered, by these same characters after noticing an overlap in my own band of emotions and actions.
Hogan invites us to examine our own blueprint for happiness through a new lens: consider the connectedness, and our own emotional investment, with every living being (and the earth itself) in their most pure, unadulterated form. In a search for individual peace, we are all connected. Indeed, no man is an island.
A not-to-be-missed first novel.
This book was very sophisticated for a first novelist and I enthusiastically await the next one.