3.5 Stars - Strongly Recommended to readers familiar with genre
Meet Malcolm. He is a motivational speaker who is about to lose his motivation, and eventually his mind, after his wife asks him to leave.
Malcolm's life is told in a string of events that are not necessarily laid out in order. Sometimes they follow each other sequentially, other times the chapters run parallel to the main plot. Each chapter varies in length - some are only a few paragraphs, while others span 10 pages.
The real events of Malcolm's life are sometimes difficult to distinguish from events that might be taking place in his head. Post divorce announcement, a girl who heard one of Malcolm's presentations blows him in the front seat of his car. His wife leaves him a small plastic bag with her pubic hair in it as a parting gift. These things, I believe. But when he describes how part of his wife splits off and becomes a sparrow that follows him around whispering logical and cruel things to him - like "You can't leave, where will you go?" - and talks about the mannequin that is always there in his peripheral vision, I begin to question poor Malcolm's mental stability.
When Malcolm moves out of his marital home and into a strange cabin with countless holes in the walls and floors, he - and his story - seem to lose their grasp on reality. And here is where the reading can either become interesting... or frustrating.
Author Ben Spivey experiments with language, sentence structure, and clarity in a way that challenges his readers to focus, pay attention, and decide for themselves which events are truly taking place and which ones are taking place only in Malcolm's mind.
In Flowing in the Gossamer Fold, the inside of our protagonist's head is like a wall in a house. Everything looks great until you start peeling away the wallpaper, and discovering the tiny cracks and nicks it had been covering up. Once exposed to the air, those cracks and nicks begin to deepen and widen and the dry wall suddenly starts to crumble and fall to the floor.. slowly at first, then gradually in larger and larger chunks, which causes the ceiling above it to begin to sag and leak, and quickly put the integrity of the home into question.
Spivey's novels is very much unlike anything you have ever read before and will read in the future, though fans of Blake Butler would appreciate this novel as the writing techniques are somewhat similar.
Thanks to Ben, and his publishing company Blue Square Press, for making this review copy available.