FICTION

The Seventh Mansion

Farrar. Sept. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9780374298463. pap. $16. F
COPY ISBN
DEBUT NOVEL Suspended from school after participating in an animal rights protest gone wrong, Xie expends most of his energy tending his garden and pursuing additional environmental causes. Painfully lonely and lacking in social skills, Xie develops a fascination with Christian martyrs and mystical theology, an obsession that manifests itself sexually and leads him to commit a highly unusual crime. Despite attempts to connect with him by his well-meaning father and his tutor Karen (who has personal struggles of her own), Xie cannot steer himself away from his monomaniacal pursuits, which ultimately leads to tragedy. Although it comes early, it would be unfair to reveal the novel’s most surprising plot twist, which may cause some readers to recoil in revulsion. The book combines stream of consciousness with intermittent third- and second-person narration, indicating Xie’s volatile state of mind.
VERDICT Meijer (Rag) does a creditable job of connecting the troubled psychology of a contemporary teen with the sometimes lurid accounts of the lives of saints, suggesting that the extremities of their respective devotions are similar. Not for everyone, but refreshingly bold and original.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?