My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you haven’t heard of Rio Youers before, you need to go out right now and look up Westlake Soul, purchase it in whatever form you prefer, arm yourself with handkerchief or tissues, and settle down for a story that will shatter you with its beauty, elegance and raw honesty.
Similar in emotional impact and tone to Mitch Alboum’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Youers’ novel takes the reader into the world of former surfer, Westlake Soul, who is now in a vegetative state from a catastrophic surfing accident. Told in first person, mostly stream-of-consciousness, this is an ambitious novel delivered with such ease and simplicity it’s as though Westlake himself sits beside you, telling you his tale.
And although the novel is pigeon-holed as science fiction, it is far more, part magic-realism, mostly stunning literary fiction.
The only caveat I would have is not to read this in public spaces, because people will wonder about the nervous breakdown you’re having.
Well done, Rio Youers!