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Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett Jacob Send a noteboard - 15/01/2010 09:44:28 PM
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Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett
Published by Orbit, Jan 15, 2010

MR. SHIVERS is the debut novel from Robert Jackson Bennett. The novel is set during the Dust Bowl, mid 1930’s, in the central United States. The setting and the magical realism style creates an immediate and unique feel for the story that I found to be intriguing and submersive. The story revolves around an itinerant man named Mr. Connelly, who we first meet riding the rails following after something. The plot of the novel is a quest seeking revenge for the murder of Mr. Connelly’s daughter at the hands of a scarred man, known by many names, though commonly referred to as Mr. Shivers.

I was riveted immediately by MR. SHIVERS. Bennett is an excellent storyteller. He has the great ability to paint a scene with few words but give it depth, atmosphere, an immediacy, that you only find in the best told stories. However, this response by me also lead to some rather high expectations to what I was hoping to be a very good story. The novel had all the right elements in place for a great story, and I could tell that Bennett certainly had the skill to write it.

Mr. Connelly is traveling though a dying land chasing a scarred man, the man who killed his daughter. Yes, I would describe MR SHIVERS as a combination of Stephen King’s GUNSLINGER, a mythic quest, and the desolation of the height of the Dust Bowl in the worst hit states. For the most part, MR SHIVERS lives up to the comparison. The characters are mysterious, driven, and certainly flawed. The story is dark and desolate yet very much alive and concrete in its presentation. As Mr. Connelly meets others chasing after the scarred man, and they begin to realize that he is more than it would appear, the reader feels like he is part of that hurt, tired, desperate, hate filled group, one with a grim but virtuous purpose.

There are some problems with the book. The plot is somewhat thin. It’s not that it is a bad story being told, but there isn’t much complexity or depth beyond the linear telling. There are some great moments of depth, but not enough in my opinion. The other weakness is that the more mythic the elements to a scene the weaker it compared to the rest of the story. That becomes something of a problem during the climatic scenes. It doesn’t ruin the book. Not in the least. It does prevent the book from being as good as I think it could have been.

I don’t know that ‘enjoy’ is quite the word that I would use when describing the MR SHIVERS reading experience. The story is too dark and disturbing for that. However, the story is well told, captivating, quick moving, and definitely worth the effort. Even with the flaws in this story, I think Robert Jackson Bennett has demonstrated that he’ll be a name to watch for in the future. With his already accomplished storytelling skills, I can only imagine that he could write a fabulous and complete novel if he just finds the right story. You should definitely check the novel out, for the unique setting and the entertaining and engaging storytelling.
This message last edited by Rebekah on 21/03/2010 at 04:25:27 PM
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Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett - 15/01/2010 09:44:28 PM 3647 Views
That has been on my list to buy. - 15/01/2010 10:13:35 PM 715 Views
It's a good cover. - 15/01/2010 10:33:03 PM 711 Views
It is a good cover, especially for a US edition book. - 16/01/2010 04:11:12 AM 757 Views
Re: Title. - 16/01/2010 10:11:43 AM 741 Views
It does. - 18/01/2010 02:18:38 AM 737 Views
Ah, I see. - 18/01/2010 05:42:22 PM 646 Views
Sounds like I should hold out for future good books - 16/01/2010 11:33:58 AM 666 Views
I don't know. - 18/01/2010 02:19:54 AM 782 Views
Re: I don't know. - 18/01/2010 07:54:49 AM 715 Views

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