(E-)Book Read! AS I DIE LYING by Scott Nicholson
First sentence: “Begin at the beginning.”
P. 99: “‘Do you miss him?’, I was afraid to ask, afraid not to ask.”
Last sentence: “I”m going to sleep.”
Richard Coldiron’s unauthorized autobiography follows his metafictional journey through a troubled childhood, where he meets his invisible friend, his other invisible friend…and then some who aren’t so friendly.
There’s Mister Milktoast, the protective punster; Little Hitler, who leers from the shadows; Loverboy, the lusty bastard; and Bookworm, who is thoughtful, introspective, and determined to solve the riddle of Richard’s disintegration into either madness or genius, and of course only makes things worse. They reside in the various rooms of his skull, a place known as the Bone House, and take turns rearranging the furniture. As Richard works on his autobiography, his minor characters struggle with their various redemptive arcs.
Richard keeps his cool despite the voices in his head, but he’s about to get a new tenant: the Insider, a malevolent soul-hopping spirit that may or may not be born from Richard’s nightmares and demands a co-writing credit and a little bit of foot-kissing dark worship.
Now Richard doesn’t know which voice to trust. The book’s been rejected 117 times. The people he loves keep turning up dead. And here comes the woman of his dreams.
Since I follow all kinds of great bookblogs, I have discovered books, or genres, I wouldn’t normally read. And this book is one of these. And yet it was a fascinating read. Richard Caldiron tries to cope with life, as we all do, but his life isn’t easy to cope with. It starts with a father who beats him and his mother, the latter not able to protect her son, or herself. To deal with that he creates an imaginary friend, who ‘takes over’ his body when he is being beaten and who comforts him when he is alone and afraid. But then there suddenly is another friend, who lets him do things that he wouldn’t normally do, or would he? Richard can’t be sure of this, and so he runs…
It was fascinating to be inside a person’s head and to see the struggle and uncertainty that was going on there. The tension was building throughout the story, but was relieved now and again by references made to the fact that this was a book, a manuscript, a story, where exciting things had to happen, because otherwise it would be a boring book.
All in all, a great read!