Title: The Fiddler in the Night
Author: Christian Fennell
Genre: American Literature, Thriller
Christian Fennell's, The Fiddler in the Night, is a return by the author to the raw, abstract, and visceral landscapes set forth in his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Torrents of Our Time. In his debut novel, Fennell takes the reader on an orphaned teen's journey through the darker recesses of rural America--horrifying, yet compelling--where he tries to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. A tragic love story unfolding against a background that is both real and imagined, making this novel as memorable for its language as for its non-stop and blistering storyline. "In essence, the author has created a work of art in word form." - The US Review of Books "At times The Fiddler in the Night is a thriller reminiscent of the dark, intense work of Cormac McCarthy. At times it's a coming-of-age tale, or a precise portrait of middle America. It manages to be all these things, while also telling an absorbing story. This is a cat-and-mouse tale set in grand, lonely landscapes and peopled with characters that feel achingly real." - Neon Books, UK
The year 2020 has been one for the books. The Fiddler in the Night may be an ideal companion for when someone wants to revel in the darker aspects of that year. The gifted writer's first novel is elegiac.
One could think this is the story of Jonathan and it very well could be. I think The Fiddler in the Night is more of a philosophic look at what small-town life could be. What you have is a disparate group of people stuck in purgatory. Around the edges roams the Angel of Death who sends people to their afterlife destination. While struggling through purgatory, people are faced with the basest of human emotions.
The smooth slide between what seems to be reality and what could simply be fantasy lets the reader define what The Fiddler in the Night means to them. Immersive and jarring, The Fiddler in the Night will grip a reader. What the Angel of Death in this book needs is a tall tree and a short piece of rope. The Fiddler in the Night could simply mean that life is in the living of it. No one really controls their destiny. If you want a journey into the sometimes-violent lives of these people, read The Fiddler in the Night.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Christian Fennell's short stories and essays have appeared in a number of international magazines, literary journals, and collected works, including: Chaleur Magazine, Litro Magazine, XRAY Literary Magazine, Dreamers Magazine, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Kind Writers Anthology, Liars’ League London, Wilderness House Literary Review, and .Cent Magazine, among others. Christian was a columnist and the fiction editor at The Prague Revue.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N