The priest yearns through a shift in the logic of space and time to discover an oasis in a grain of sand and so he finds himself dealing with life's grand existential questions on the shore of Thoreau's Walden Pond in Concord: “I had gone to meditate at Walden Pond. That morning, under the rising sun, the water sang and danced to the rhythm of the morning breeze, and the ripples crisscrossed to weave a lattice of light. The clouds drifted in the stream of air. No one else to taint the birches or to corrupt the morning or to smear the lark’s melody. I chanted Veni Creator Spiritus. Peace. Yet, a squall-laden peace. I wanted to search for peace, for kindness, for love in hypocrisy’s rubbles but the desert had opened its arms. I would enter, not hesitating, and choke on the dry air and collapse under the sandstorm. And yet, among the sand dunes rippling into the horizon would sprout an oasis if I could endure and embrace the desert as it had me. These hands and feet of flesh and bone, this heart of fear and hunger, under the sun and in the sand, to seize the fleeting peace at Walden Pond.”
Leonard Seet’s novel is about polar opposites and the dynamics of their conflicts and how these dynamics drive the laws of physics of a compelling, indeed riveting, story line. Leonard Seet has left no literary devices on the table to narrate his tale: people simply aren't who they appear to be, nothing is as it seems, what's done isn't always really done. As much as I enjoyed this story line of Leonard Seet, I was enthralled by the pure beauty of the writing among all the plot points. The scintillating writing is elegant, pure, grownup, originally cast, heartfelt, intelligent: there are dozens of examples of this beauty and here a just a few of the dozen passages that I read and re-read because they were so artfully crafted. Check out this poetic rhapsody from the priest: “Woe and joy to mortals who have tasted heaven, who have seen the dark night, who have encountered THOU. No eyes could gaze the midday sun; no ears could listen to the Siren’s songs; no hands could touch the stove flame. But the brilliance, the sweetness, the warmth.” And this brilliant bit of poetic science: “Bright night surfing upon the crest of a probability wave by a Fourier transform reached Hilbert space the wilderness beyond existence the phantom space of mathematics the mirror world where a kick there would cause a jerk here through sinusoidal ripples in the uncertainty between yes and no space-time emerged from nothing to exist for a million years before returning to the void for another eternity. In the horizon of the next galaxy a positron and an electron mated and gave birth in annihilation to twin photons streaking at the speed of light toward opposite infinities to re-encounter at the other pole of the space-time hydrosphere birth life decay death the cosmic cycle beyond space-time beyond matter-energy beyond I-thou beyond Alpha and Omega.”
The writing is simply breathtaking: Seet gives you credit for being a thinking person, a serious reader, a person of substance and high intelligence. As a Bostonian I reveled in the finely wrought stagecraft of the settings there. This literary novel is layered so that it can be enjoyed by those who simply want a good story and yet it satisfies those who want a book written poetically with substance and a style that is grown-up and intellectually complex enough to open new intellectual avenues. If you prefer intelligently crafted novels, then do yourself a favor and by all means read this unforgettable novel by Leonard Seet: the writing is to die for."
The review is on Amazon under the name Wordsworth and on Goodreads.