I was given an ecopy of The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle by James Dixon for review.
This was a somewhat difficult book to read as it has to do with a man's world falling apart around him while he is unable to do much about it.
We are confronted with several unpleasant realities of our world: The lack of empathy for those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. The disdain for the homeless, believing they have chosen that life. People in that state preying upon each other. And so on.
The main character Willem (reminiscent of Lenny in Of Mice and Men starts out sympathetic enough and we like him, or at least root for him. We see him forced, rather abruptly, from the bosom of society. We painfully endure his downward spiral into darkness (his transcendence). It is a heartbreaking journey that Willem does not understand.
These things I sympathized with as I read, and some of his, shall we say, less than appropriate actions, could be viewed as justified to a point. His more egregious actions are not acceptable under any circumstances, erasing any affinity I had for him.
The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle is a harsh story, with harsh depictions of society. Although I found it a very well written and wholly engrossing story, I rebel at the reaction I felt I was being encouraged to feel; that none of what happened was Willem's total responsibility.
Although not marketed as such, The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle could be viewed as an indictment of the treatment of mental health issues, but that is my feeling, not necessarily those of the author. My copy actually had no notes from the author or any info about him to give any idea of his motivation for this story.
Anyway, as I said, very well written. It will keep your attention. But fair warning: it is not a "feel good" story with a happy ending. It's a tragic story of a tragic life, and I do recommend it as such.