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What Casts the Shadow? (The Edge of the Known) Paperback – January 4, 2014
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"What makes What Casts the Shadow? work is not just the strength of Brandon's voice, but his personal promise. Brandon is dark because he's also very bright. For anyone who's struggled with dark thoughts, or really anyone who's started a creative endeavor and felt the pull of self-doubt, What Casts the Shadow? is at once philosophical and recognizable and may just change how you think about life." - Self-Publishing Review, 4½ Stars
From the Author
The Edge of the Known series is narrated by Brandon Chane, an artistic visionary who struggles to transcend the darkness of his personal world by uncovering his own voice. Brandon's mentor, Saul Mason, is fond of saying, "We are the authors of this dream." Our experiences are self-created; our destinies are ours to shape. I hope you enjoy my dramatic account of one man's discovery of this empowering truth.
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Top Customer Reviews
What I initially took to be sermonizing from the narrator’s brother-like friend Tommy would in many novels have been exactly that: a way for the author to preach their righteousness via a solid “voice of reason” character whom the protagonist will semi-reject while inwardly acknowledging their rightness, only to seek reconciliation later. What it was here, on the other hand, was a prelude to contrast the real teaching figure of the book, the protagonist’s therapist, Saul.
Yes, I said therapist; the character is introduced as a shaman, but he does the job of a therapist throughout. Now, having already seen Tommy’s efforts presented as the steady voice of reason, Saul brings so much more depth and gravitas to the room than they would had he been introduced without a pre-established social rock to eclipse.
In all, this book takes on a very therapeutic feel, but does that far better than any number of sanctimonious self-help books; not by trying to disguise it, but instead for approaching everything in a very direct and honest way.
If this very well-written book has any fault to justify my initial consideration of giving it a four star review instead of five, it would be that the narrator is very unrelatable to me, and perhaps to many who do not have the same manifestations problems (anger, despair, helplessness) to work out, even if moment's reflection will find the root cause to be the same. However, the seamless blend of storytelling and therapeutic content makes this an excellent read from both angles, not to mention that even the most self-assured and lucidly grounded reader will at some point know — perhaps love — such a person in their life, which brings it all together, grounding it into reality.
As good as the writing is, as as imaginative as the storyline is, I admit that I was put off by some of the key ideas and metaphysics in the book. Mullins’ emphasizes that we can create our own realities, that we write our own destiny. Brandon’s mentor, Saul, has a catch-phrase that sums this up, “We are the authors of this dream.” This might sound great and affirming as far as it goes, but I don’t find this altogether true. We are more like actors on a stage with a script and direction (our abilities, talents, environments, parents, culture, etc.), but we can play our character as best as we can and as best as we know how. In my opinion, to think otherwise is simply to pretend that we have more control that we really do, and we don’t acknowledge what is “real” outside of ourselves. It’s like Brandon’s statement that “guilt” is simply an illusion that we should free ourselves from (page 27). But in my opinion, to completely disregard guilt, or shame, or any other emotion we don’t like is foolhardy and can be destructive to relationships. Instead, we face them head on and deal with them, not pretend they don’t exist. This is all to say that I’m not a fan of some of the themes in the book, though I do like Mullins’ writing.