review: This isn't the type of book I generally pick up and read. I wasn't even sure I knew what "magical realism" meant. I am familiar with Athol Dickson because we are on the same author loop, and I had been impressed with his thinking through his posts. So I was delighted to get the chance to read Lost Mission, and after reading it, I was eager to share what I found with my Dragon Bloggin friends.
First, the writing style is more literary than most books written today. That doesn't mean that it is less readable, but more fine-tuned. Some literary pieces use words and syntax that erect a wall between the reader and the story. The art of storytelling is obscured by the language. Athol doesn't cross the line. The story is strong and the reader doesn't stop to focus on the writing instead of the tale. In other words, Athol's style does not relegate the story to second place.
The story rings true, both in the historical setting and present day California. The characters are such that the reader gladly invests in their predicaments. In my mind, the mark of a better than average book is that I continue to think about the characters and their problems for days after I finish the book. Lost Mission held my attention beyond the last page. And last but not least, I want to feel good when I get to the end. I want to feel satisfied with the outcome, encouraged by the theme of the book, and eager to read something else by the author. Lost Mission qualifies as a good read.
Athol Dickson's university-level training in painting, sculpture, and architecture was followed by a long career as an architect—then his decision several years ago to devote full time to writing. River Rising, named one of the top novels of 2006 by Booklist magazine, received a Christy Award; and his novel They Shall See God was a Christy Award finalist. Athol's haunting mystery novel set on the most remote inhabited island off the coast of Maine, Winter Haven, released in Spring 2008. His novels are known for their richly evocative settings, unforgettable characters, intense suspense, and pervasive sense of “magical realism.” He and his wife, Sue, live in California.
For a very interesting bio of Athol Dickson, go to http://www.atholdickson.com/bio_reviews.html
*Lost Mission - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416583475
Author Web site - http://www.atholdickson.com/
Author blog - http://whatatholwrote.blogspot.com/
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