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Eric is Awake by Dom Shaw
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Eric is Awake

by Dom Shaw

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I'll be the first to admit that I'm a Dystopian junkie, and that it all started with a love for Orwell's 1984, and, subsequently, Animal Farm, so when I saw Eric is Awake by Dom Shaw on Goodreads, and saw Orwell's profile and piercing, sardonic gaze from the cover, I had to be part of the read and review for it, and I am so glad I took the chance with this literary Dystopian ficiton.
Firstly, the cover for this book is vibrant and appealing and captured my interest right away. I am happy to say that the content is even more appealing. The layout for the book is so compelling and well researched. The Orwellian journals, the articles with recipes for impoverished and creative foodies, the running narrative, and even the flashes of police reports might have made for a confusing read, if it wasn't so expertly plotted. As it is, I flew through the pages, with rarely a snag, and a growing sense of foreboding, curiosity, mystery and discomfort.
Indeed, Shaw understands how to craft discomfort with humor and human folly so well, that it is no surprise for me to find out that he has been (under a different name) a bestselling co-author. His language is precision, his story is moving, intriguing and hits uncomfortably close to home, even for a U.S. born reader (the author writes about U.K. related events, but ones that readers of many nations will have no trouble relating to).
This book is highly political in tone, but is, at the same time, aware of the limited views of radicals and conservatives, alike. The book plays upon the sometimes ridiculous ways in which revolutions can occur. It is a novel about human mishaps merged with power grabs merged with lust merged with technology. A novel about how these things bring about the best and worst in different people.
As Eric, the protagonist, struggles with his identity, and even his name (how will he be hailed when he doesn't know, for sure, himself), we readers struggle with our identities, the ways in which we create ourselves and spend our times in this modern age. In the space of this book, the human story does not seem so different from the story told generations ago by authors wondering about humanity, technology and politics.
This is a literary novel, yes. It is a smart, thinking person's novel, sure, but it is also wildly entertaining, much like the novels by Orwell himself. You cannot go wrong picking this book up, but be prepared to think, and be open to re-reading it several times, as I surely will be. This book could easily have been taught in one of my college classes, and since I'm a college teacher, it very well may be in the near future.
Thank you, Dom Shaw, for your wonderful, intelligent, aware book. Publishers, instead of kicking yourself for not reading or passing on this gem, please follow the links below and do yourselves a favor. He is too good to pass up. Take it from an avid reader.

*read and review book* ( )
  HMJonesWrites | Apr 19, 2014 |
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