Summary: When it all seems to be falling apart...
Gradually but irresistibly, events in Nick's life have spun out of control and Nick can only hold on and survive. He finds himself trying to understand the ending of past relationships while becoming involved in new ones, and he finds himself falling in love. As everything seems to be falling apart, Nick tries to piece together the pieces, tries to restore order. Halt the entropy. -- book cover
Last month Tony Gordon, author of ENTROPY, asked if I was interested in reading and reviewing his new novel. Of course, I said yes -- I love reading new books and finding new authors. I thought the book about a man whose life is falling apart sounded like an interesting read (plus the book is only 133 pages, so it qualifies for the Novella Challenge.)
The title of the book is just perfect. Merriam-Webster defines "entropy" as: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder; chaos, disorganization. The story is told in first person narrative by Nick, a tragic figure whose life has just taken a turn for the worse. His wife just left him after having a miscarriage; and he is the only person living in his abandoned neighborhood. Add to that losing his mother to suicide when he was a young boy; and the reader quickly finds out that Nick is pretty much all alone in the world.
I couldn't put the book down because I had to find out what happens to Nick. While the book is rather dark and depressing, there are moments of humor. I found myself actually chuckling at a few of Nick's comments and reactions to the other characters in the story. I couldn't help but like Nick, even though some of his actions disappointed me. I felt so much compassion for Nick, and I kept hoping that he could turn himself and his life around.
What I really enjoyed about this book, though, was the struggle that Nick kept facing between what he thought was right versus what he wanted to do. There is a wonderful quote in this book by Nick's stripper friend that sums up this theme really well, "Part of me doesn't like it, you know? But part of me does and doesn't want to admit it." Nick responds to this with, "I feel like telling her that I know, I know all about those parts of ourselves that do things we don't want to like doing." This theme permeates throughout the entire novel. While I certainly can't say that I understand all of Nick's actions, I think his feelings are a universal theme for everyone.
ENTROPY is Mr. Gordon's first novel; however, he has had some short stories published in various literary magazines. He is also a past winner of the North Carolina Writers' Network Fiction Competition. If you are interested in reading one of short stories, The Shape of You, the Shape of Me is posted on his Writing in General blog. He will have a collection of his short stories published in the near future. After reading ENTROPY, I will certainly be interested in reading this book too.
Also reviewed at:
Cheryl's Book Nook
Michele - Only One 'L'