This in itself is not a bad thing, but a closer inspection of bestseller lists and book sites will tell you that the reading public's general taste in fiction rarely rises above the teenage/young/adult/romance/horror/fantasy/erotica genres. Once again, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does pose a problem for readers whose taste in literature rises above the superabundant fluff that populates bestseller lists.
Where does one find good, serious fiction that entertains, but also explores and examines the human condition while simultaneously crafting the written word in a way that is both clear and aesthetically pleasing?
Bradford Philen's Autumn Falls is a good place to start.
Through his protagonist Keith Baker, Philen invites the reader to ponder many intriguing themes: the choices one makes in life, the lingering influence of the past, the mystery and banality of love, and the power of endurance in a world that often offers little more than suffering and indifference in return.
Though it is set in the southern United States, the story transcends its setting and taps into a level of emotional universality that makes it accessible to all. In many ways, the book fulfills Aristotle's theory of art serving as a mirror through which we are able to recognize our own characters and natures. As I read the story, I stopped on several occasions and thought, "Ah, this is what it means to be human. These are the obstacles we all must face in some form or other."
Written in a clear, crisp style, the narrative flows effortlessly from scene to scene and part to part. Philen has a gift for dialogue; the conversations between characters are both memorable and authentic.
In a world drowning in comic book prose, Autumn Falls exists as one of those increasingly rare kinds of novels - a novel about real people and real problems. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a story that allows them to touch the earth.
Link to the novel: