Trapped within the decaying carcass of the Pearson quarantine facility, and starved of creative oxygen, Barry James is a fast receding heartbeat in a body occupied by an incurable disease with only pen and paper offering an escape into the outside world.
A latter day Papillion imprisoned for an illness he didn’t ask for and ignored by a government he didn’t elect James’s imminent insanity is kept at bay by Von Hansmeyer, the seemingly altruistic doctor who holds the medicinal keys to sustain his life but it is the psychologist Van Vuuren who has the power to unlock his emotions and shed light into a world of darkness and regret.
Marcus Low manages to bend the hallucinogenic effect of the limitless horizons of the Great Karoo into a dreamscape of infinite hues and possibilities as the occupants of this netherworld yearn for a gateway into a forgotten life where distant memories gradually dissipate in the heat haze of the dying light.
The author creates an abstract pallet of colours that ultimately leaves a conflicted and fatigued imprint on the fly ridden canvass of the reader’s mind. We empathize with the unasked for imprisonment of the beleaguered and dying inmates but struggle to reconcile this with the hopelessness of any redemption.
Yet in Jonathan Fox positivity almost outweighs the reality of their ghost like status as he emanates an incongruous energy that makes the prospect of freedom almost tangible. This is both a deeply depressing and life enhancing tribute to an afflicted soul who finds release through writing but could never forgive himself for the life he didn’t lead.
Marcus Lowe’s story telling leaves us with an indelible impression of man’s ability to survive when just being is the tragic aspiration of daily life.
- Rich Reviews rating: