Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Steven Hendricks' Little is Left to Tell: A Book Review

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When TLC Book Tours offered me a chance to read Little is Left to Tell, I was not sure what to expect. Needless to say, I have been pleasantly surprised. In his novel, Little is Left to Tell, Steven Hendricks crafts a nuanced, multi-faceted tale that will delight and challenge any lover of literary fiction. Unpredictable and inventive, Hendricks first lays out the plot of a family of bunnies who are sailing the skies on a ship that is both a tree and a ship, a ship with a heart and thoughts and an essence. These bunnies have lost one of their siblings, a mother has lost a child, and they seek to avoid the creatures of their own destruction: strange Zeppelins that not only bomb the world, but consume it too. With allusions to German bombing raids and a reverence for the literary figure Peter Rabbit, who they see as a Saint, the family, and young Yasha in particular, seeks a new life, a new home, and a solution to their despair. Yet this despair brings on confusion, and purposeful confusion permeates to the novel’s core.

Primarily, the text follows the life of Fin, a man fighting to maintain his independence despite the onset of dementia. Fin desperately seeks his son David. David has left him, but David was the source of all of the elderly man’s inspiration, for the two used to tell each other stories, stories about bunnies that could fly on a ship captained by Mr. Hart Crane, a hare that survived a zeppelin attack but can only speak using the words he has been feed.  Such narrative overlap is par for the course in this work. At one point we read about the margin notes David made about rabbits and bears only to then be there with the very same animals. In the same vein, Fin seems to fall in and out of his present, his past, the bunnies, and the possible return of his son. David himself may be alive or dead, sane or insane, and Fin may or may not understand these facts. Certainty it seems lacks purpose here, and the reader thrives on this fact. The prose, deliberate and winding, takes us through the mind of the confused man, lost child, wandering bunnies. But beyond the confusion and mental fallacies, Fin still examines the world with the wonder of a child searching for a way to employ his imaginative creative force.

The narrative goes other directions as well. Odysseus comes into play—for what if the crafty inventor had forsaken his Greek past and instead joined up with the very Trojan side he had been combating? What would the Old Man in the Sea say when Menelaus came upon him then? Where would Hemingway come into play? What about bears? Perhaps bears and trees are linked and then a ship that is both a tree and a ship might be a bear, and that the bears on the ship might be more human than bear or more bear than human, but thinking and talking nonetheless. And then there is Virginia Woolf played by Virginia the wolf. Both the same, both different, and in the end, both uncertain.
Each plot line crafts a narrative of immense depth, one that allows Hendricks to dazzle, twist, and transfigure our understanding of all his worlds, all his stories. 

Visit Steven Hendricks at his website

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Sounds like it keeps you on your mental toes. :)

    Thank you for being on this tour!