Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Recluse Storyteller by Mark W. Sasse - Review

The Recluse Storyteller by Mark W. Sasse

The Recluse StorytellerTitle: The Recluse Storyteller

Series: N/A

Author: Mark W. Sasse

Published: 6th October 2013 by Createspace

Source: E-copy from the author for my honest review


Red Hat hijacks a yoghurt truck and barrels into the Chester Walz Bank at full speed, desperate to open a safety deposit box. 

The twins, beckoned by an ominous streak of light across the sky, climb Harper’s Hill to encounter an apparition of their missing father. 

The reverend stands on a muddy ridge, the barrel of the rifle in his neck, looking down on a Vietnamese village, scarred by war and regret. 

The stories come to Margaret at all times, but they are anything but random. A fractured view of Michael Cheevers’ red hat through a discreetly cracked door sends her off on adventure. A glimpse of the Johnson twins from apartment 2D takes her to the lonely hill on a Midwestern prairie in 1887. The regular letters from Reverend Davies, who has tried to look after Margaret since the death of her mother, brings her to the brink of exhaustion, staring intensely into the heart of war deep in the jungle of Vietnam. 

Margaret is not insane, at least not in a clinical sense. She’s like a midnight raccoon, painfully aware of her surroundings, gleaming crumbs of information at every turn; eyes peering incessantly in the night, stealing glances of neighbors behind partially opened doors. 

But the tales that she weaves were not meant to merely hold empty court to the receptive dead air of her apartment. Her stories were meant to embolden the lives of the inhabitants of that drab apartment block because her story is also their story—and everything would be different if they could only hear her stories. 

The Recluse Storyteller weaves five stories into one as the loner Margaret not only searches for meaning from her reclusive life, but also gives meaning in the most unexpected ways to the troubled souls of her apartment complex. Part adventure, part tragedy, and part discovery, The Recluse Storyteller bridges genres, bringing hope, life, and redemption to the broken relationships of modern society.

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My Review

When the author first asked if I'd like to review this book I wasn't entirely sold upon it. The idea sounded really interesting but I wasn't sure if it was my type of book. In all honesty it was only the great Goodreads rating & reviews that made me say yes to The Recluse Storyteller, and by golly I am glad I did! The story was engaging and the writing had me captivated from beginning to end, I think this book is set to be one of my top reads of the year!

It's a little difficult to explain what this book is about without it seeming either complicated or silly but this book is neither of these things. The story centres around Margaret, a woman who lives alone and barely has any contact with the outside world but she still sees, and hears, and knows. Margaret is a storyteller and throughout the book we see glimpses here and there, into each of the four stories she tells, and it is these four stories, plus Margaret's own, that this book is about. That sounds a lot more complicated than it is, the story itself is a lot easier to understand though in the beginning it took me a couple of chapters to get my head around which story was which.

The writing was simple and elegant and I found myself immediately getting lost in the story (or should I say stories!) everytime I picked up the book. The writing also made the characters really come to life. It was easy for me to slip from the mind of one character to another and then right back again which made me feel that I'd gotten to know everyone a little better.

This was just a beautiful, easy story and I think it could be enjoyed by absolutely anyone. The emotion packed into this one book is incredible, and I don't just mean the emotion I felt, but all the different portrayals of the characters and their feelings was just superb. The Recluse Storyteller grabbed me and it still hasn't let me go. The story was spell-binding and I don't believe there is anything I can fault. Ever since I turned the last page I have been recommending this book to everyone I can, this is definitely one of my favourite books for this year.

5/5 Whales

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