Thursday, 28 June 2012

Book Review: Austin Nights by Michael Davidson (herocious)

Austin Nights
By Michael Davidson (herocious) 
Published by Tiny Toe Press

Austin Nights is a novel made up of journal entries written by Michael and his girl Bridget, as they travel across America from Miami and settle into their new apartment in Austin, Texas. 

Through these sections of memories, the reader discovers that Bridget has been accepted on to a psychology course and Michael is unemployed and left to wander the streets of Austin, write down his memories, visit the local library and watch the crazy characters who also sit, waiting for something to happen.

Austin Nights shuns the conventional beginning, middle and end and instead has the journal entries out of sequence as a way of showing that memories are jumbled and never obey timelines. The reader is forced to join the dots, form the narrative and engage with the novel.

This novel blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction. Michael Davidson wrote the novel under the name of Herocious and is also the main character. The reader is left to decide what is real. 

"In writing this memory of our life, I don't want to restrict myself to a straight line of casual prose. One section doesn't necessarily cause or affect the next, or even have a say in the general drift."

Herocious has tried to bring together the mundane routines of life and the profound 'why are we here and why do we exist' into the same novel. He shows this successfully through the two main characters. Bridget proves the reader with perspective and insight to their lives while Michael is the dreamer, trying to understand his way through adulthood. Michael is a character who seems to cling to the past and is afraid to move forward unless it is perfect and it is something that he really wants to do. Michael is a character stuck in a bubble and is unaware of the real world around him. The reader see this when both Michael and Bridget go out walking and Bridget witnesses two men selling drugs. Michael doesn't not register what is happening.  The reader is left to guess who is telling the truth and 'what is real' in this story.

Austin Nights shows the mundane struggles and obsessions of everyday life and tries to bring the reader as close to reality as possible and to the fact that not much happens to people in real life. People absorb the big transitions into their lives and this is what this book shows. 

There were lots of red herrings through the book. Some are built up so much that you think someone is going to try and hurt one or both of the characters. I found that some parts did not add to the overall narrative and hindered the plot. Herocious does a good job of building up tension and the sense of doom in a novel where nothing much happens. 

One thing that annoyed me: The over use of 'cancer stick' when ever someone was smoking. 

The writing is tight and engaging. If you like your realism to be 'real' and to be as near to real life as possible then Austin Nights is for you. 

Austin Nights is via as a Kindle ebook via Amazon.

The author kindly sent me a copy.

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