Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Literary Fiction | Fantasy | Mystery
In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.
When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.
But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring co-worker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind…
Before I start with my thoughts on this book, you should know that the dust cover for Robert Levy's THE GLITTERING WORLD is a very, very pretty in real life. It literally glitters and it's guaranteed to make any bookshelf extra gorgeous.
On to the story!
I don't know what I just read. And I'm not trying to be cute or exercising rhetoric here. I seriously don't know WTflyingF I read. It took me a while to finish THE GLITTERING WORLD because after the first 100 pages, the plot felt laborious for me. Like I can't figure it out so I tried to look at it from a genre angle. Is this magic realism, sci-fi, paranormal? None of these fit, only the broad sweeps of lit-fiction/mystery fits. The short of it is, RLevy's debut novel is a changeling story. Now before you get all excited, forget everything you know about changelings, the fae, and other legends regarding this myth because RLevy totally turned things upside down. By the end of THE GLITTERING WORLD, it felt more like an alien abduction than a folk tale to me.
The novel was divided into 4 parts as each of the lead characters took turns in telling the tale. Years ago, Blue was went missing in the woods only to come back as, what most people in his town suspect, is a changeling. After much tension and family drama, Blue moved and it was only when his grandma died and left the house to him that he returned to Nova Scotia. It wasn't long before Blue's bretheren started calling to him and he went missing. As this renewed search for the elusive Blue ensues, his friends, Elisa, Jason, and Gabe, took turns in relating the tale to us. But will they find Blue this time around and if so, is he the Blue they know and love, or is it going to be something else?
THE GLITTERING WORLD is disturbing, very, very strange, and definitely unlike anything I've ever read. I can't tell you what it's about apart from what the story is, I can tell you though why this novel didn't necessarily work for me: it was so impersonal. You have four people telling you the tale, complete with their own thoughts, history, and relationship with Blue, and yet it felt so detached. As if RLevy purposely and actively prevented me, the reader, to understand the human side of the novel and form any attachment to Blue & Co. Also the ending doesn't have closure. Like all of that adventure and close encounters with the fae folk for nothing?
Which is why THE GLITTERING WORLD will remain unrated by me for a while. It's one of those books that is written well in terms of technique but lacked in the suspending disbelief. I just don't know if I'm an idiot or if RLevy focused too much on stylistics and not enough time forming the plot wherein average readers like myself can consider it believable or even entertaining. So please, if you've read this and totally loved it, I'd appreciate an email so we can powwow in private.