Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Brave Man Seven Stories Tall by Will Chancellor

Things are moving along satisfactorily in Big Sur for Owen Burr and his professor father, Joseph.  Owen is an athlete at his prime, six foot eight and expected to have a place on the Olympic water polo team.  Joseph has been a professor for many years and while he isn't famous, he has carved out a good life for his son.

Then tragedy strikes.  Owen is injured in a game and loses an eye.  He can no longer play the sport that has defined him.  After hospital and rehab stays, rather than finding a new focus, he withdraws all his money and disappears.  His father is frantic and has no idea where he is.

Where he is is Berlin.  Owen has decided that perhaps he should become an artist and that Germany is the place that serious modern art is being done.  He falls in with a group of other artists including one of the most famous modern artists and thinks things are coming together.  Unfortunately, the tribe he has moved in with are monsters and their only interest in Owen is to use him to make profit off his suffering.

After a bloody showdown with this group, Owen and a female DJ he has met, take off.  In the meantime, Joseph has gotten wind that Owen is somewhere in Europe and comes to find him.  In the process, he becomes famous, but not in a way he had ever anticipated.  The two careen around Europe, missing each other for months.  Will they be reunited and will Owen find his way in life?

This is a debut novel by Will Chancellor and it is a towering accomplishment.  Owen is a striking character who will remain in readers' minds long after the novel is finished.  His journey to find himself and where he fits in the world is a compelling one and readers will want to accompany him as he attempts to find himself.  The love between Owen and Joseph is deep and fuels the novel.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and for those interested in personal journeys of exploration.

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