How is Bout of Books going? I finished one book and I’m working on finishing another — hopefully I can finish at least one more before the week is up!
Today I’m part of a blog tour, thanks to Legend Press, for the latest book by Matt Wilven! I reviewed his debut, The Blackbird Singularity, back in 2016 so I was excited to revisit this author. Read on for my review and where to find other reviewers on the tour!
Farzaneh and the Moon by Matt Wilven
Genre: Literary Fiction
When N meets a charismatic outsider called Farzaneh, he realizes that something has been missing in his life. They fall for each other and begin an intense and passionate relationship. However, Farzaneh starts to isolate herself, becoming obsessed and embroiled in her mysterious connection with the moon.
N is forced to reappraise everything he knows, searching for meaning and identity while he violently collides with the limits of intimacy and love.
This one was a bit of a rough start for me but it did turn for the better around the second half. It felt a lot like it was continuing the manic pixie dream girl trope, with Farzaneh as this odd, mysterious girl that our unnamed protagonist becomes obsessed and infatuated with. I found it difficult to connect with either of the two main characters as well, especially from the beginning. They spend a lot of time just getting high (N shows up in London with little more than a backpack full of weed) and most of the people they hang out with are also very into drugs and excessive drinking and partying. It feels overdone and there’s little else about the characters to form any real connection.
My main issue with the book, though, was the dialogue. Wilven has been compared to Murakami in the philosophic nature of his writing, and I can definitely see that as I’m currently reading 1Q84, but it felt at times like this writing was trying to make big statements without really progressing the story, certainly with the first half. The characters have multiple discussions about society and ways of life while tripping on drugs, and though they seemed to think they were really profound ideas, they really just sounded annoying.
However, with the second half we start to move away from these drug-infused talks and get a little more into the heads, and backstories, of our two MCs. While I still felt like Farzaneh wasn’t quite as fleshed out as I’d hoped, and N seems to be spurred on by lust more than anything, there were still powerful moments in his realizations about the person whose fantasies he was indulging.
I didn’t find that this book lived up to my enjoyment of The Blackbird Singularity but I’d still be interested in more from this author.
About the Author: Matt Wilven’s novel The Blackbird Singularity was shortlisted for an Amazon Rising Star Award, longlisted for the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize and featured in WHSmith’s Fresh Talent campaign (2017).
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Blurb from Goodreads; images and bio provided by publisher