First of, allow me to thank Booktasters and Brian Harrison for giving me a copy of this book. It hasn’t been an easy ride, but this book can enlighten readers why people are driven to insanity for simply being human.
Progeny follows the story of a group of mentally institutionalized in the process of therapy where we are given glimpse of backstories and how they led to ‘cold-blooded’ murders. If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I assumed this book is for me. It started with a child killing his father with thirteen bullets – this after enduring more than a year of sexual molestation.
Catchy, ain’t it?
In all honesty, I thought that I will be finishing this up real fast because I like dark and depressing books (in all weird ways). But I didn’t and I imagine it will be so for the majority due to either or both of these reasons:
This book contains violence, incest, torture, rape, gore (dismembering and skinning!) and bombings. If you’re in this for fun, then I suggest you start to rethink your read list.
Usually, themes like these don’t bother but I guess it adds a lot when the novel is more character than plot driven. The latter allows you to get distracted by the story and series of events, the former asks you to empathize with the characters’ psychology and bear the brunt of their trauma and guilt.
I guess this is something that my professors back in college will enjoy dissecting. As for me, I got a copy over vacation but had the chance to open it when I was getting back to work where stress awaits me (yey!) I was seriously depressed for no reason for a lot of days so. If that isn’t enough warning, well then lucky you.
2.) Writing Style
This book had shifting timelines, POVs and formats. A little-too-experimental writing will not be applauded by many.
The timeline shifts were awesomely executed. I love it when an object or conversation from the present brings a character to his past and said timeline shift brings the reader a better understanding of the present situation. The transition is always smooth. Hands down, Brian!
But the POVs were quite problematic. Mostly because it’s my pet peeve and because I don’t really hear a change of tone when Remus or Pine or Elissa are talking. And I’m not just talking about shifting POVs between characters. It’s from a first person POV then to an omniscient narrator.
It’s just really crazy.
Sometimes, Pine will tell stories to his patients about Lily but then you’ll question how come he can narrate all these when he’s not even there (see: one-on-one conversation between his dad and Lily).
And finally, the sudden change of format. I don’t know if it’s a reader problem because my app just sucks (I tried two btw) but Chapter 21 in itself is a narrative poetry. I’m really finding it hard to put a finger on what purpose this serves. And when I find things unnecessary, I get annoyed.
I think this book needs patient readers. To understand the logic behind this experimental writing style and to empathize with the characters without too much action going. Not for the mainstream audience if you ask me. 2/5 stars.