06 May 2014

Evidence of Things Not Seen

Author: Lindsey Lane
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Evidence of Things Not Seen is an interesting tale, though I find it hard to classify it as a novel.  While the plot revolves loosely around the disappearance of a kid named Tommy, the story is more a collection of short stories than anything else at first glance as you start your adventure into the book.  It reminded me a lot of James Franco's Actors Anonymous, which I couldn't make it through.  Unlike AA, however, Evidence of Things Not Seen is worth the wait if you can make it to the end (about 75% of the way through is where it really picks up again for the remainder of the novel).

Granted, many of the stories woven into the novel have little if nothing to do with the missing Tommy.  Some seem added just to nclude a little sex appeal for coming to age young adults.  The story that sticks out the most is of the girl who vaguely knew Tommy from being a fellow nerd that up and decides to lose her virginity just because, and Lane felt compelled to explain the mishap in detail.  Not only did it have nothing to do with finding the missing kid - and nothing to do with him in general - but it was wholly awkward as well.  The other part that springs to mind is the entire conversation around circle jerking into watermelons.  Again, the story just seemed uncalled for and had absolutely nothing to do with the underlying themes of the novel.

If you can pardon Lane these faults, however, these seemingly unconnected tales weave a magnificently, well written novel (apart from a few loose end stories).  The last few points of view in the story are so elegantly written that I found myself on the verge of tears on the airplane as I read the last part of the book.  While the ending is rather disappointing, the last line in the story sums it up so well that you cannot be disappointed with how Lane completed it, as the final line wraps the novel up so perfectly that I had to write it into my book of quotes immediately.  The last line of the novel makes the ending so unfulfilling and yet so hauntingly fitting at the same time that it left me breathless and almost completely changed my reception of the novel (for the better).

The characters, especially towards the end of the novel, as so interesting that you wish Lane would have chosen a few less different POVs and developed some of the characters a little more, but at the same time it was rather ingenious how many of these seemingly unrelated characters are woven together by the end of the novel.  My lasting impression of the novel was to ponder if the novel was ever really about Tommy, or if he was a standing metaphor for everyone in the book, nay everyone in the world?  While perhaps a bit shaky in some parts, Evidence of Things Not Seen is still a solid book at the end of the day.

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