Anathema Rhodes: Dreams by Iimani David

This book chronicles a three day battle between the forces of “The Source” – the true deity of the universe – and the “god of man,” the focus of mankind’s “religion, idolatry, and … blind worship of false gods.” From these few, short quotes you can probably already guess at the general world view underlying the story – mankind has created a false god through the sheer force of thousands of years of belief, and that god, thanks to the inherent illogic of its definition, is skewing the balance of the universe and now the time has come to destroy it.

I found this book quite hard to get into but then I happened to read the note about the author in the end pages, most of which is repeated on his website. Iimani is a “Experimentalist of the literary Impressionist style.”:

The literary techniques “maypoling” and “vertical storytelling” are employed in this work. These techniques are designed by the author to enhance the surreality of the characters’ mental and emotional experiences.

Knowing that I was supposed to feel somewhat confused reassured me somewhat and allowed me to relax and go with the flow and get into it more. Still I found the book a little hard going. Aside from being intentionally confusing I also found the prose overworked at times, lots of alliteration, unnecessary adjectives and somewhat forced metaphors which all came over more as literary masturbation rather than as necessary to the story. Compared with someone like Murakami, who also aims for a surreality in his stories, it was extremely florid.

Also, and this probably is as much to do with my sci-fi predilections as it is a major fault in the book, but I for a story where ‘multiple dimensions’ were such a significant factor there was very little attempt to explain or justify their existence or relationship with each other.

There were several good points to the book, I enjoyed the Descartes inspired sensory deprivation chapter which was just part of a strong leaning towards the Continental tradition in philosophy. I thought the characterisation was good and the story itself ended up with a good mix of triumph and poignancy.

Overall, this was an above average book, though one you have to work at rather than a page turner. I probably wouldn’t seek out any other books by the same author but wouldn’t be averse to picking one up if I came across one cheap in a second hand store.

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