30 marzo 2013

The White Forest

"Drips with the dark and gothic chills of Victorian London... A spooky and original novel" . 
Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father at a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of manmade objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation, with the goal of discovering a new virtual reality, a place he calls the Empyrean. 

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.

Title: The White Forest
Author: Adam McOmber
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Touchstone

"The White Forest reminds me of what I love about H. P. Lovecraft: Adam McOmber's imagery is so visual and strangely real, and his story so inventive: a plain old narrative is hard enough to pull off on its own, but creating a whole new world within the reality of Victorian England? Wow." Daniel Wallace author of Big Fish.

What sets “The White Forest” apart from other contemporary novels is Adam McOmber’s careful attention to language. While it is the Columbia College professor’s first full-length novel, “The White Forest” is written with an imaginative and haunting prose reminiscent of H.P Lovecraft.

Set in Victorian England, “The White Forest” (much like Whitman’s famous brag) contains both contradictions, and multitudes. Told from protagonist Jane Silverlake’s point-of-view, this is a novel that makes a conscious decision to conflate the pretensions of a stricter time period with the inner turmoil of a dark obsession. The story begins with a structure typical of a mystery novel or a missing person’s tale. But over the course of the narrative this structure is subtly and expertly recalibrated not only to the reader’s surprise, but to the great benefit of this utterly enjoyable story.

Without giving too much away, Jane Silverlake is not your typical Victorian heroine.  She has the ability to discern, through touch and through sound, that which is not only indiscernible, but unknown and uncared for in a typical novel, or typical worldview. Jane’s ability acts as a foil to the time period she is relegated to, and forces the reader to draw a parallel between the plot and the commentary on gender roles and assumptions that are subverted throughout the plot. Clearly, Mr. McOmber has a great deal of respect for his protagonist, and for the ways in which we are all implicated by that which is unseen, unheard and unknown.

Many reviewers have credited Mr. McOmber for his ability to create such a totally engrossing, suspenseful work, but what is most fascinating about his initial foray into the novel is his ability to blend an entertaining story with a careful attentiveness to gender, culture and literary theory. “The White Forest” is what happens when tropes common in popular literature (Gothicism, witchcraft and romance) are exploited with actual knockout talent and dedication to craft. 

Raul Alvarez
New City Chicago
January 23, 2013


Muero de ganas por leerlo :D


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