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Wondering, the Way is Made: A South American…
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Wondering, the Way is Made: A South American Odyssey

by Luke F. D. Marsden

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Being cut off, severed from something, is a difficult starting point. Throughout this novel the looming presence of a world behind and away, a world that has shaped the characters we will follow, is felt as a real entity. It stalks them as they pass over and through unfamiliar lands, searching for respite from the world at their backs. The friendship that binds them causes them to draw together and endeavour to reach a place where this world of political upheaval, civil unrest and authoritarianism won’t catch up with them, or they can at least hope to keep at bay for a while.

Set in a future so near it is one slow motion step away into the morning of that day, the novel takes us to the conclusion that may be inevitable, may be self-fulfilling or may be in the realm of delaying. As the planet rushes forward into the unsustainable plundering for resources the market and the man has devised, and token gestures are meted out by government in a blindingly apparent lack of will for change in this area, increasingly banal platitudes prop up the machine as it grinds away at another way, a way that needs to be found if the kind of strife this book recounts is to be reduced.

This is a journeying book, recounting South America’s landscapes, peoples and practices. This is where the narrative takes flight and I was hungry for more of it. Indeed, there were two aspects of this novel where my attention zoomed, the second being the reflections on the scientific and philosophical implications of the themes and dilemmas that were thrown up. To me these were the heart of the book, which I had delicious glimpses of and they were snatched away too soon to return to the central narrative which, though engaging enough, didn’t hold my attention with as much satisfaction. A strange type of self editing became apparent in the interactions between the friends, one that perhaps reflects certain friendships and the difficulties in juggling so many personalities, and though there were attempts to break though this into the soul of the characters I experienced repeated retreat from this which was at times frustrating. I wanted to know them better and felt the natural boundaries that friendships demand perhaps seeped over into the representation of the inner voice. For whatever reason I was left craving a more direct connection, instinctively appraising that this writer of clarity and simplicity of expression has so much more to say.

My main takeaway from this book is that I want to read more by this author. I am left curious and I’m still reflecting on it so I feel compelled to give it the solid 3.5 rating, so I will. ( )
  RebeccaGransden | Aug 12, 2015 |
John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” Too true, and as we all know (and more so the older we get), plans never run according to plan anyway. The Way, on the other hand, involves those moments of present; where plans present themselves in visions, gut feelings, obstacles and necessities.
In this story, the Way has different ways of bringing about travelling friends to converge in South America, as they try to decide how to escape the imminent fall of the world. Marsden writes in a clean, crisp and simple but sophisticated fashion, which suits Joss the narrator's cool headed, zen-ish, new-everyman persona perfectly. Occasionally it reminded me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenace, at other times it was like Generation X, but that doesn't take anything away from it in the slightest.
The philosophical, humorous, fighting-The-Man, being-a-twenty- first-century-human-being dialogue and scenarios of the characters presides over the backdrops of places like Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, but then welcome descriptions of places like La Paz suddenly arrive, bursting from the page with fresh colours and sounds.
This is one of those books that you can enjoy at face value or you can start thinking about all sorts of things. Ultimately, this is the tale of trying to escape the system, or 'the programme' as it's referred to here. The background world around Joss and his friends is falling apart, as resources have practically dried up, floods and tsunamis are raging, there are riots all over the western world, on the brink of WWIII, and yet still people are plugged into the daily grind, sometimes blind to the changes occurring. Where can this group of travellers go to escape the collapse of the world?
If this book had've been written in the sixties, it could have perhaps been seen as 'hippy' literature, but it's not. What it is is a good example of how those 'leaving the system and getting back to nature and living in present cycles' ideals are still very much alive in the world, and actually even more so now. Marsden's book isn't set in any dystopian future world. It's set in just around the corner. I highly recommend you read this book before the future catches up with us. ( )
1 vote HarryWhitewolf | Feb 17, 2015 |
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