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The Gift Maker: Spellbinding and beautifully written, impossible to put down Kindle Edition
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At this point the story takes wing and the reader is whisked off into a kaleidoscopic world, where reality is constantly shifting, and invited to enjoy a fascinating examination of the unanswerable questions of existential experience and the origins of life.
This book is an extraordinary achievement. It is entertaining, mesmerising, wholly engaging and conveyed in beautifully flowing prose.
The Gift Maker is a story about an anonymous gift to each of three students. Do they open the box? It is here that the philosophical nexus drew me in. I read this as, open the gift and you can follow your future, leave the gift unopened, and your future will follow you - what is there not to like about that, a magnificent hook.
Mark Mayes, as I was lead to expect, has a gift of beautiful descriptive writing and I sometimes found myself a little lost in his creativity, wanting at times for the narrative to punch on, but it was a story that demanded this languorous world of self-discovery 'magically' set within various vignette scenes; a girl on a train; a visit to the University refectory; a snow scene in a wood, with the girl, a village lad and a wild boar; arriving at the distant town of Grenze, decrepit or passed onto another life? and descriptions of the theatre - this book is about trusting in the author, that he will steer you beyond grizzly events, wondrous sights, whilst all the time the contents of the gifts grow in importance, leading to a dramatic, though ethereal, conclusion, which I found strangely satisfying - I was not expecting that.
If your favoured read is magical tales, then The Gift maker is 5 stars all the way, more than enough to satisfy an avid reader of this genre. If you pick up this book for an engaging read, as I did, then I would recommend 4 stars, but only because the fantasy, dream like content, is not my thing, but it surely is a really good read.
What neither Liselotte or Thomas know is that the consequences of receiving the custom-made, and highly personal, gifts have already been decided for them - by a theatre impresario whose existence they are unaware of. The third student, the mercurial, enigmatic Jurgen, does not receive a gift, but he is part of their story, too, and follows Thomas in his blind quest.
Rich in symbolism, the novel is poetic, highly charged, and so vividly written that I became completely unaware of my real-world environment, having stepped into the shape-shifting world of Liselotte, Thomas, Jurgen, and the mysterious, nomadic Daumen, whose very identity and existence becomes ever more compromised by following the denouement of the students' story. I literally couldn' put this book down - it is so compelling that you can't bear to leave the characters to their fate. Unusually inventive, this fantasy is not for the faint-hearted.
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