Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.
Robert Irwin's introduction to The Enigma of Departure seems out of place yet in the first few pages of the book, it all started making sense and I immediately got into Nicholas Royle's writing.
The author dives directly into the action, introducing readers immediately to the conflict. Royle makes good use of flashback as he alternates scenes with the past and present of his protagonist, all the while keeping the story's momentum going. Royle's prose is very much readable and leaves little room for vagueness, instead going for the atmosphere of ambiguity and strangeness. Each chapter ends at just the right point, giving one the opportunity to ponder and deliberate.
While the story is relatively short, each scene is vital as it not only furthers the plot but fleshes out our main protagonist. Royle's agenda with the book is difficult to explain without spoiling it. Suffice to say, it is tricky from a technical standpoint and the author succeeds as Royle's writing is a good fit for what he was attempting. Combine that with compelling storytelling and non-intrusive exposition and you have a winner.
The Enigma of Departure was very much a satisfying and layered reading experience that deserves much praise. If you're looking for an unconventional book that attempts something ambitious and is tinged with elements of the horrific, you might want to take a look at this book.