Hi, there. Maggie Shaw here, proud owner of Eregendal and author.
As a lifelong lover of reading, each month I choose one of my favourite books – and tell you all about it.
For September’s Book of the Month I have chosen The Many Beautiful Worlds of Death by Mark Sheeky (2021 Pentangel Books). Mark Sheeky is a south Cheshire based surreal artist who expresses his creativity in many different art forms, including graphic design, painting, prose, poetry, video, broadcasting, music and computer gaming. He also does live performances with Deborah Edgeley as the duo Fall In Green and organises the community showcase ArtSwarm.
The Many Beautiful Worlds of Death is a thought-provoking novel in the science fiction/fantasy genre. It follows the experimental inventor George as he copes with having an inoperable brain tumour by trying to find a cure using his computerised transporter to travel through time, space and dimension. Woven through the episodic journeys he makes in pursuit of his quest, is the touchingly understated back story of his relationship with his neglected wife Pauline, their robot child, and their socialising neighbours.
Having loved Mark Sheeky’s surreal paintings and music, I had looked forward to seeing how his quirky inventiveness expressed itself in the written word. I was not disappointed. From the opening chapter of a song poem complete with music, to the story’s final conclusion in the symbol of a circle, I was always kept guessing about what might happen next. The fantasy aspects of the story came across as believable because of the clear and realistic descriptions of them. The characterisation of people and entities was sympathetic and unjudgmental, and somehow quite ‘normal’ despite their often fantastical natures. The symbols on the book cover and at the start of each chapter intrigued me too, though so far, I have not been able to work out their significance.
I came away from the book having been well entertained. The novel also made me think about heaven, hell, intelligence, wisdom and my own mortality in an unthreatening way which did not preach or require me to believe in the conclusions of the protagonist, George, or the author wo created him. I loved the way the story celebrated individuality and our nature as humans to fight against our circumstances mid life’s challenges even when that fight might seem hopeless.
So there we have it, September’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in October as I’ll be revealing another must read…