A cleverly constructed and deeply moving account that enthralls…
Andrae debuts with this immersive and complex story, a fine blend of literary fiction and SF. The easy going and careless Allan Renner is approaching forty and currently living in Florida in the guest quarters above his parents’ garage. Trying to find a clear direction, Allan is content working odd jobs as an online copy editor, and occasionally as a production assistant on independent films. A personal tragedy strikes, and Allan is forced to take charge of his own life. With Ruby, his parents’ Havapoo, at his side, Allan goes on about his life until the lovely Carmen, a divorcee and a mother, enters Allan’s life and things seem to be looking up for a while. But the disquiet within is here to stay. A mysterious occurrence brings Allan face to face with an enigmatic stranger, making him realize that there is more to life than basking in the security of the known. Divided into seven very different but interconnected stories, the novel delves into Allan’s inner life through vignettes of his bizarre relationships with others. Readers observe the lives of various people, including friends and family—Akhil, an alcoholic guidance counselor from India with a passion for cosmology, astrophysics, and alcohol; the endearing Sadie, an adventurous blond rock singer approaching her forties who still has enough spark left for men to fight over her; the gifted, driven Fred, a half-black, half-Jewish filmmaker; Allan’s parents: his father Philip who likes to luxuriate in all the fineries the life has to offer, and his mother Alice, a compassionate soul, who understands Allan’s directionless drifting more than Allan himself; Ruby, the adorable Havapoo with her cute doggy-antics; the lovely Carmen, a single mother who brings a new meaning to Allan’s mundane life; and the intriguing Xynnulu, an alien-human hybrid and soldier of fortune who takes Allan on a journey into the unknown to discover the secrets of the universe— and, in doing so, they get themselves acquainted with Allan as a person and observe his confrontations with his loneliness and his fragility as well as his struggles with his insecurities and fears. Readers will delight in Andrae’s affecting worldbuilding, vivid prose, and flawed, full hearted characters. Combining usual tropes of literary fiction such as philosophical concepts, individual struggles, and cultural allusions with a dash of science fiction, Andrae offers plenty for lovers of cross-genre fiction to engage with. This idiosyncratic novel is not for everyone, but the readers with fine literary tastes should find it highly rewarding.
The Friends of Allan Renner
By Dave J. Andrae
Pub date November 11, 2020
Price $6.06 (USD) Kindle edition, $25.96 Hardcover