5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Seven Days of Peter Crumb (Paperback)
This literary début by Jonny Glynn is a formidable and multi-layered read that will stick with you for some time. The narrator, Peter Crumb, is a man of about 40 years of age who has decided to go on a killing spree in his last seven days before putting his life to an end. Apparently, Crumb is a very severe case of dissociative identity disorder, more commonly known as a split personality. In times of stress, another person emanates from his body and begins to entangle him in lengthy conversations about good and evil.
In the course of the novel Crumb turns his murderous plans into reality and sets off to kill several people in cold blood most violently. However, Glynn also gives a few very subtle hints at what turned Crumb into such a monster. First, Crumb's daughter has been murdered and dismembered a few years earlier. Crumb himself has seen his own daughter's body parts, hence his fatal obsession with extreme acts of brutality. Second, in a deeply disturbing dream sequence Crumb describes how his father lead him to the attic when he was ten years old. There, he is ordered to undress and lie down on a shabby stained mattress. Then the utterly terrified boy is molested and abused by a person he calls a "hideous badger" - quite likely his own father. Only by way of transforming his dad into a fantasy figure the young kid's psyche becomes capable of maintaining some sort of mental equilibrium for some time. Crumb's demented and deeply traumatized psyche just cannot allow the horrible truth to become a consciuos realization. Crumb therefore is both a perpetrator AND a victim, and Glynn, employing a very authentic mix of everyday language and philosophical jargon, manages masterfully to evoke feelings of sympathy for his protagonist despite his unspeakable crimes. Crumb, in spite of all his excesses, still is a member of the human race and deserves both the reader's contempt AND compassion. In fact, Glynn's haunted anti-hero, who has been compared to Stevenson's Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde as well as to Dostoyevsky's Rodion Raskolnikov, is only an example - if a very extreme one - of what Alexander Solzhenitsyn described as the thin "line dividing good and evil", which "cuts through the heart of every human being" - a quote from the motto Glynn cleverly places at the beginning of his novel.
All in all, this work is a profoundly shocking yet deeply humanistic effort by a young writer hopefully capable of maintaining this high standard in future projects.
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Initial post: 9 Jul 2013 20:40:16 BDT
Why couldn't you have written a review without giving away plot points?
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