Compellingly Tragic Character Study

June 5, 2014 by K. Hair on Amazon | 4 stars out of 5

The opening pages of He & She are breathtakingly remorseful, exploring the last sexual remnants of a man who has lost all but his instinctive need to pleasure himself. At the end of this passage, his nurse sums up the point of the imagery, that in this man’s old age his memories and all else that gave his life meaning has faded. All that remains is his most base ambition.

This is how we are introduced to a novel which explores the needs of the main character, K, to reinvent himself in the only way he knows how at his age. His youthful longing to work in the world of the music is explored near the beginning, but once we see him as a middle-aged man with few acquaintances outside of his friend LeBron, he quickly becomes a heartbreaking commentary on what it means to be lost in life and almost completely aimless.

K is not one of those literary heroes that everyone wants to be, but he is certainly a protagonist with whom most can identify. His downward spiral begins with his need to fulfill immediate wants in the face of difficulties when it comes to fulfilling more long-term dreams. K substitutes everything in his life which is lacking with a single woman, the Egyptian Princess. Even this moniker demonstrates K’s incessant need to escape the reality of life with the fantasy of this woman, and it truly is more of a fantasy than a relationship.

The story unfolds a little slowly, and could probably be shortened, but the first few pages will have the reader prepared for an in-depth character study. That is precisely what the author delivers, and K’s life is easily a cautionary tale against falling into madness simply to evade the living world.

Wayne is a Montreal based writer, editor and translator.

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