Intelligent, provocative, and dense… A must-read.
Drake skillfully captures the mood and voice of contemporary youth and their interpersonal connections and concerns in his engrossing debut. Twenty-two-year-old Adam Lankershim has never felt lucky in his life, especially with episodes of bad luck tracing back his family tree for generations. Unable to afford decent healthcare, he consults a veterinarian after experiencing alarming health symptoms and gets a dire diagnosis: he only has a month to live. Adam decides to live his life to the fullest and head off to Las Vegas with his best friend Sara and faithful cat Miss Fortune. But a chance discovery of a large sum of drug money throws him on an entirely new path. The narrative is fueled by tension with high anticipation (about Adam’s fate) at the back. Drake sketches his imaginative characters with depth and skill, making them come out alive on the pages. He skillfully captures Adam’s voice as a conflicted twenty-two-year-old who continually questions the purpose of his life, his place in the bigger scheme of things, and the socio-political system of the nation and the way it affects everyday lives of the general population, making all his apprehensions and wants thoroughly comprehensible and authentic. His portrayal of Adam’s efforts to cope with his feelings of despair and inner turmoil is equally convincing. Other characters are sketched with precision and care, including the feisty and independent Sara, who understands Adam’s eternal drifting more than Adam himself and remains a true friend to him; the endearing Lizzie; the adorable Miss Fortune; and the courageous, determined, and headstrong Indigo, who has no option but to win the competition. The reader will enjoy the cozy friendships, romance, and shifting familial ties, the backdrop of a fictional corrupt society where humanity has been venturing out into space but exploitation and oppression still lie at the heart of the politics, and thoughtful engagement with the questions of what is it that makes life worthwhile. Drake blends assuredly mature themes with learning, and Adam’s story is touching without being sentimental. Throughout, he explores complex themes of oppression, disruptive politics, the needs of the society versus those of the individuals, identity, hope, courage, compassion, and the undying resilience of the human spirit in the face of impossible circumstances. The sophisticated treatment of the novel’s main protagonist and the complexity of his philosophical reflections make this an apt read for morally serious readers of literary fiction.
Wayne Allen Drake
Pub date March 6, 2022
Price $9.99 (USD) Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition