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British author Matt McAvoy reviews “I Have Demons” by Christopher Adam

Matt McAvoy (mattmcavoy.com)

Adam is an extremely articulate author, who is flawless with grammar and very easy to read; I absorbed the whole of this trio of tales in one sitting.

Set in both rural and urban Canada, the stories are short and relatable slice-of-life snippets, character-based, without any real sense of drama; the basis of the book seems to be a metaphorical one. Moreso, the tales have an unexpected air of bleakness about them – forlorn and almost foreboding. In the foreword, Adam hints at a common theme, a concept which does indeed reveal itself in each of the tales to be that of a hopeless main character, seizing control of the moment in any way he or she can; the lesson learnt in each case is that they are not alone in their hopelessness. This book is indeed full of desperate characters, even those appearing not to be at first sight, though it does flicker with moments of light. The opening tale is almost look-away heartbreaking, while the middle story and title tale “I Have Demons”, is infused with a real tone of menace; ultimately though, in all three of the stories, it is the sadness and melancholy which emerges prominent. Wrap up well when reading this book, because it feels oppressively cold, even in moments of emotional warmth and summer heat. I did suspect, right from the outset, that a hint of metaphor runs throughout each tale and indeed the book, though I have to be honest and say that if this were indeed the case, I wasn’t really able to grasp it.

Still, though not entirely uplifting – as I think perhaps Adam had hoped – and even with twinges of cynicism pervading it, this anthology is gripping nonetheless. Perhaps non-eventful in terms of action, and rather a moody piece, “I Have Demons” is yet the kind of book you could easily get through on a quiet winter’s evening. This is due in no small part to the fact that the author is one of undoubted quality – his writing is very good, without question, and his use of language brings a smile to the face of the conscientious reader. He deserves a great deal of recognition which, by all accounts, he has achieved, though I would like to have seen a real sparkling gem added to this collection – a smiler – if only just to relieve the downbeat atmosphere when reading it, and linger in the mind afterwards. But, otherwise, a good book by a high quality reader, and I would recommend it.

Rating 4/5

Matt McAvoy

Visit Matt McAvoy on GoodReads here or on his own website.

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