SUMMARY: In the summer of 2003, a middle-aged obituary writer – our unnamed narrator – discovers a walled-up bathroom in the basement of his new house in upstate NY, & launches a quest to piece together the story trapped within those walls since the 1950s, when the boy named German Jr. lived there.
The BookViral Review: Genre – Literary Fiction
Sometimes when you read a novel, it’s so well-imagined that it just takes over and happens to you. It’s rare a gem that delivers on this level but that’s exactly what The Elephants, I does with Ian Blake Newhem once again on top form.
As with Newhem’s Healing Star the story unfolds through multiple perspectives with the pivotal perspectives being those of a middle-aged obituary writer – the unnamed narrator, Connor X. Mayne and Shimba. Cerebral, meticulous and haunting there are long central flashbacks, which are indispensable to the discoveries ahead. Diversions filled with violence, deviancy, intrigue and reflection and on this level there is hardly an emotion that Newhem doesn’t touch upon.
As with Healing Star his feel for detail is terrific. Every one of his characters is an individual and refreshingly his narrative remains clear of trite clichés as he finds the right pace and style for a story about persistence in the face of evil and the vagrancies of chance encounters. Taking us through a bewildering labyrinth of fictional facts and suspicions over disparate timelines. From Maasai Mara in Kenya to Cornwall NY on a journey which is often chilling and always suspenseful.
At a little under 600 pages, it’s a credit to Newhem that momentum is maintained throughout whilst a cracking denouement is perfectly pitched for the story he has told. A superb read and one sure to find favour with discerning readers of literary fiction, The Elephants, I is recommended without reservation.