Engleby

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It just can’t be possible to narrow down a myriad of wonderful things into one simple and (perhaps) comprehensive category. I usually blabber on about foodscapades and nice solitary leisure adventures at little cafes here and there, but tonight I’m looking at my dim lamp and the bordered book underneath it. My bookshelf is always there like a nostalgia-inducing grandfather, standing behind me every time I sit down at my desk, either blindly pondering something stuck in my mind or forcing myself to get down to some work, which I probably later enjoy getting lost in.

Back to the book.

It’s none other than Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, as you can see lying limply on my dark bedroom floorboards. I like that name. Engleby. I really just think of a fat mother eagle. Nothing too new and all the rage like 50 shades of whatsit parading its assets like a pretentious youngster on the front shelves of every bookstore. Not that I’ve read Shades of Grey before, though I’ve heard a good few nasty things about it. No no, not the open carnality of the story, just the manner in which everything is conveyed. I should cease to judge, but then again, what thinking man would willingly subject himself to lesser-than-awesome literary works? To experiment, yes. To nourish the soul, perhaps not.

Engleby is the young man featured in the story, and the way the whole thing ended literally made my socks shiver. The twist post-middle was dark yet becoming, wholly cruel yet frighteningly pleasurable. I enjoyed what I was reading because for once, the story did not continue like a placid diary of which initial the boom and pow dwindles to something ultimately quite expected and insignificant. If my dog dies then that’s rather devastating, however if my dog dies because he suffered heart and mental problems from excessive time travel through space, then the context shifts to capture my attention in a more enlightening perspective, albeit the obvious sadness to accompany such a passing. Back to the point.

Just look at Engleby on the front cover. Young, bright and free. Hands in the air, taking life as it hits him in every direction like the faceless wind running through spindly fields of wheat. Unbelievably bright, but suffers from slight social apathy and even an annoying tinge of separation and self-induced acceptance of a cruel, cruel world. Bullied, but still one of the brightest beings of his time. Went to Cambridge and became a journalist, only to later find out the hard way of his drastic mental problems. Read it for yourself and empathise with this man, before considering how you as a human being may have responded to his situation objectively, without any knowledge of his history beforehand. Nothing I say would make sense to you if you have not read it, but that is precisely my point. Non sequitur speech is this man’s specialty as well. Relish his stark cynicism and left of field verbal diarrhoea. Let him go on about the woman he loves before he murders her (cat out of the bag, meow).

Books like these needn’t ask for any rating. It’s there, it’s good, it must be read. A straightforwardly written piece, much unlike the ornate grandeur of classic literature which winds up and crushes a heart. This crushes too, I may assure you, though its content runs deep in a much more modern and relative fashion, giving the reader the chance to sob over some things human nature tends to overlook.

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