The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle by James Dixon
Don’t let the bland cover fool you, this one is a doozy!
The Unrivalled Transcendence of Willem J. Gyle is the story of Willem, a recently-laid-off worker. In the span of a few days he’s lost not only his job, but his mom and his home. What follows is his harrowing descent into homelessness, fighting every day to stay alive and to maintain his sense of self.
Willem is described as slow thinking, but I got the sense he suffered from some sort of mental or developmental disability. He never really seemed to understand the world around him, and given what he encountered after he landed on the streets, perhaps that’s a good thing.
At times I found this very difficult to read. The language is sharp, harsh, stark. Dixon does not shy away from his topic, and I appreciated that, as uncomfortable as I sometimes felt. That said, I often found myself seriously disliking Willem. Especially toward the end of his story, I found it very difficult to maintain any sort of compassion or understanding for him or his actions. The last several chapters left me feeling numb, and if I’m honest, a bit queasy.
For lovers of literary fiction, I would highly recommend this.
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.