“ The Recluse Storyteller “ by Mark W. Sasse is his second novel . The debut one being ” Beauty Rising “ which I missed to add to my ‘must read’ list. ( Will definitely go through it anyway ) Now when I started reading The Recluse Storyteller it was beyond my imagination what this book had in store for me. Frankly speaking , I was not actually sure whether it was a good read as of the first few pages. But as I proceeded , I found myself mesmerized by the story..it completely bowled me over ! Now the question may arise that what makes this book so powerful and spellbinding ?
Mark weaves the plot in an intricate manner ( or so it appears initially ) . The focal character Margaret Pritcher lives a secluded life in an apartment and works online to earn her bread. She eavesdrops her neighbours and their conversations help her to accentuate her myriad emotions as she builds her stories . She has a penchant to be affected by her muse when she starts reciting her stories….stories which have the power to intoxicate her neighbours in an inexplicable manner. The neighbours include ‘Red Hat’ Mr.Cheevers , Mrs. Johnson and her twin daughters Pam and Sam all living in the same apartment . They all find themselves enmeshed in her stories along with Reverend Davies and Janice , Margaret’s only relative .They doubt her sanity , try to detach themselves from her thought-waves but in vain. Margaret’s ineffable words appear as an oracle..her stories telling tales from the past, present and future.
Every time Margaret tells a story , she feels exhausted and spent-out…of all the emotions and energy her incoherent mind could store. This story-telling process is a sort of catharsis to her and her greatest inspiration being the twins , Sam and Pam. Her stories are not only her own but also of others who unwillingly or willingly play great roles in her life. All the characters are like the strings of a single musical instrument , if one is touched ,the other is sure to vibrate . Thus the delineation of the supporting characters have become equally wonderful with small details. The character of Mrs. Trumble stands apart as she despises Margaret for her bizarre attitude and continues her diatribe whenever she manages to find an issue.
The author has entangled five stories into one. All of them are superbly blended to form a coherent plot . As the story unfolds the blending gets finer and the reader is sure to become completely engrossed by it. Through Margaret’s introspection Mark has touched several spheres , starting from the Vietnam war to the universal belief of mankind that God is great . But never it seems that he is imposing or preaching something and there lies his unique narrative style.
A Special Note On The Narrative Style
This is the first time that I’m writing so elaborately on the writing style of an author while reviewing or rather I would like to say I couldn’t resist myself. Mark Sasse has used the ” Stream Of Consciousness” style while narrating this story. Not in a rigid manner though but the form is quite conspicuous. The stories of Margaret allow readers into the minds and hearts of her characters and to study their consciousness psychologically. I thoroughly enjoyed the style with which the author has woven this wonderful tapestry.
I would like to recommend this book to everyone . Eagerly waiting for Mark’s next publication.
From my side it’s 4.5/ 5
About The Author
Mark W . Sasse grew up in western Pennsylvania. He has spent most of the last twenty years living in Vietnam and Malaysia. He is especially passionate about drama and has written and produced 9 full-length productions for the stage. His first novel, Beauty Rising, released in December 2012. The Recluse Storyteller is his second novel. His third novel is already finished and will be releasing sometime in 2014. Entitled The Reach of the Banyan Tree, it chronicles the lives of three generations of one American family, who have their lives forever altered by their Vietnam experiences. Sweeping in scope, The Reach of the Banyan Tree is a fascinating mix of historical and contemporary fiction about the loss of love and the pull of family ties, set against the exotic backdrop of modern Vietnam and post WWII Indo-China.
The Recluse Storyteller is currently free on Amazon for Feb 20-21.