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The Fictional Man by Al Ewing

The Fictional Man (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Al Ewing

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423406,583 (4)6
Title:The Fictional Man
Authors:Al Ewing
Info:Solaris (2013), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2013 challenge

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The Fictional Man by Al Ewing (2013)



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There is no sufficient way to describe this novel. The description does it just enough justice to get it off the bookshelf or onto your eReader but it does not prepare you for the content and mood of the novel itself. The tone of The Fictional Man is quite morose, the characters are plagued with a sort of hopelessness, a desire for change that is not within the realms of possibility.

The book was well written, well edited and professionally presented, a few traits I am keen to identify as the number of self-published, unedited, ebooks sneaking up on unsuspecting readers grows higher every day. The prose was set up and laid out in a way that allowed the reader to flow through the story uniterrupted by spelling or grammtical errors. While there may have been a couple they were virtually negligible in the grand scheme of the editing. The chapters were quite long, broken up into multiple parts where you could potentially pause.

While the story itself was not action packed or overly suspenseful it kept me riveted start to finish as Niles Golan, our lead character, navigated a rather depressing period in his life. No big explosions, no outstanding hero or exceptionally, perfectly, flawlessly beautiful characters were required to keep the reader engaged. As Niles struggles with the definition of reality in a world inhabited by fictional characters brought to flesh and blood you are not rooting for any one character over another, you ask the same questions, you wonder the same things about your own reality and what makes us real.

The quiet mood of the novel leaves you in a morose state of your own, in your head, considering the tales and the themes in a way high school english teachers would kill to see in their students. It's a novel that will not leave you once you've reached the end. I've been reading a lot of light, silly fiction trying to get back into what was once all I was ever found doing and this novel provided me with a perfect transition from light reading to more 'serious' literature with it's slower pace and more serious themes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. ( )
  AnaThaylen | Mar 3, 2017 |
This is one of the few books I can recall where the main protagonist is such an ass, and half way through the book you realize he's not getting any better. Yet the story is so compelling that it carries you forward and that irritating protagonist is there representing a key part of the societal perception that helps the whole storyline evolve. This is good speculative SF that raises some interesting ideas on what it means to be perceived as real (if it means anything at all). ( )
  DaveCapp | Oct 22, 2014 |

I was enjoying this book at the beginning: it has a nice premise, that it is possible to translate fictional characters into flesh and blood people, and a nice writing style. About half way through though I realised I was hooked and when I had to put it down to go to work I couldn’t wait to get back to pick it up again. As it develops it gets more and more interesting even if some of the twists could perhaps anticipated. The utterly flawed main character keeps us involved with the plot and as it becomes ever more deliciously meta the writing becomes ever more impressive. There is a lot to like here, the narrator with all his flaws always holds your attention, his self-narration You're a good Joe, Niles. You really are a good Joe the whole fictional idea and its execution, the supporting characters - especially the fictionals, the story within the story and the other story within that story, the creepy horror of peg boy, the crazytown feel of Ewing’s alternative LA and Niles’s attempt at getting into film. Well before I run into giving it all away I’ll stop, except to say that you should read this and I hope I haven’t over-egged the review!

Overall – Highly recommended especially if you like metafiction and stories about the creative process ( )
1 vote psutto | Sep 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Al Ewingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Parr, PyeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ralph Cutner was fictional, but Niles didn’t hold that against him
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