Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lost Mission by Athol Dickson

Lost Mission
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/

*Participants’ links
Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher


Keanan Brand said...

I really enjoyed the writing in Lost Mission. It let me know I was in the hands of a capable storyteller, and let me relax into the story itself, let myself be led along without needing to know all the secrets right away or feeling like I was going to be disappointed in the outcome.

Krysti said...

I'm so glad you liked it, Donita! (and you too, Keenan) :D

Great minds think alike and all that-- (and no, I guess I'm not known for my humility, am I?)

I think Athol's a first-rate story-teller. I did notice that the blog posts I've read this time around are all about the book; how much they loved/hated/couldn't get into the book; the way the book was written; the themes in the book... No one's doing a biography of the author yet!

It certainly does say something about it when the writing engages us to that point, doesn't it?

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

No question, Athol is a first rate writer and storyteller. One of the tour members said something like, the book made him uncomfortable. Another friend said it was disturbing. It's the uncomfortable, disturbing stories that really make us think.

The end was ... satisfying but I'll say more about it in my review tomorrow.

Excellent post, Donita.


Athol Dickson said...

Thank you for these encouraging words, Donita. They mean a lot to me, coming from you.

KM Wilsher said...

Donita, did you ever come up with a definition of Magical Realism from Athol's story?