Wednesday, June 09, 2021

{ The Essence of Nathan Biddle by J. William Lewis - TLC Book Tour }

: Greenleaf Book Group Press (June 1, 2021)


A subtly wicked, almost Southern Gothic tale of existential angst told by 18-year-old Kit Biddle, an anti-Gumpian southern boy struggling with the complexities of life. The story unfolds against a backdrop of painful chaos: Kit’s revered uncle, Nathaniel Tyler Biddle, Jr., has sacrificed his only son on direct and specific orders, according to Rev. Biddle, from God himself. As Kierkegaard has suggested, the comic and the tragic converge on Kit’s desperate search for meaning in a willy-nilly world of opaque walls and filtered light.

The enigmatic Anna appears with all the attributes of Kit’s yearning and imagination and then, just like that, she disappears like a phantom in a fog, only to be replaced by the enigmatic Sarah who reverses the roles and projects onto Kit all her desires and imaginings. Standing on one leg in the darkness, Death beckons to Kit with a promise of light and comfort but instead leaves him lying in his own blood on hot pavement with neither clarity nor relief. Who is Kit Biddle? He may actually be Nathan Biddle but who in the world is that?

When the fog dissipates—if the clarity he seeks finally appears—does Kit really want the answers he finds?

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The story is told from Kit's point of view.  A teenager struggling with adolescence, compounded by a family tragedy and teenage love coming to an end.
Set in 1950's Alabama, this book brings to life Southern Charm at it's best.  
It is a character driven story, that revolves around Kit's life, dealing with tragedy and loss, a broken heart and the all too known teenage need to figure life out and make sense of everything that is around them.
His uncle Reverend Biddle, seems to have lost his mind and committed an atrocious act, using God's orders as his excuse.  While Kit is trying to come to terms with this situation, he receives yet another blow, this time in the form of Anna, the girl he is desperately in love with.  In steps Sarah, who is completely different to Anna and offering HIM what he so wanted from someone else.  
In the midst of all the chaos surging in his mind, Kit acts on impulse, steals a vehicle and speeds down the highway, which culminates in a huge accident that leaves him recovering mentally and physically.
Kit is thrown into a different kind of circumstances, as he attempts to heal from everything that has brought him pain and suffering.
This is a coming of age story that will leave you wanting to know more about Kit and where his life is headed.  I loved the book but ended it feeling like I wanted more, wanted to know what next, where did life take him, what is he going to do in the future?
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Greenleaf Book Group Press, for providing me with a review copy.


Carol said...

This doesn't sound like a book that I would enjoy but I will share it with a friend that might.

Lisa K Thomasson Jung said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I enjoy character driven books. Thanks for sharing your review.

Sara Strand said...

Definitely sounds intriguing! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Debra Eliotseats said...

I really struggled with Part I. I finally made it through the novel. I thought the structure was a bit off. Writing was brilliant, though.