Vic’s husband and fellow bookworm Brendan loved James Hynes’ new novel Next so much, he had to do another guest review…
“By now the plane is empty behind him and the rest of the passengers are trailing away down the long cathedral arcade of the terminal through the pillars of light streaming in the windows: silhouettes fat and lean, major and minor, limping, striding, slouching, swinging briefcases, dangling backpacks, towing wheeled suitcases, in twos and threes, or weaving through the crowd, alone. None of the silhouettes ahead is swaying. None of them is carrying a duffle. None of them is dangling a book at her hip and holding her place with a finger. Kevin can no longer see his slinky seatmate, Ms. Joy Luck Club, the girl in the camisole, the girl with the tattoos, the girl who walks like Lynda.”
Ah, the joy of browsing at the library. I’d never heard of James Hynes, but the colorful cover of Next captured my attention, as did the brief summary on the inside flap. It exceeded my expectations. The author is remarkable at capturing detail and the human condition.
As Kevin Quinn goes through life, his mind returns again and again too the past. And much of the time not spent reliving the past is used up fearing the future – from terrorist attacks to fatherhood. It takes a lot to help him truly experience the present. Kevin trudges through a viscous Austin, following his own selfish longings until he can follow them no further.
Next has been aptly compared to Ulysses. It’s not quite so formidable, but Kevin’s quest through a city in one abbreviated day, his encounters with the people of that city, and his constant reminiscences certainly reminded me of Bloom’s Odyssey.
Next captures the anomie of our modern existence, the constant need for something better, for instant gratification. Only when faced with something momentous does Kevin appreciate the blessings in his life. And what a momentous something it is. The final act of this work will take your breath away.
Buy @ Amazon
James Hynes was recently interviewed at Large Hearted Boy.
James Hynes Official Site