“Hinterland” by L M Brown

This is a psychological novel giving an in-depth presentation of what goes on in the minds and emotions of injured people. The main conflict  is about the mental illness, but most of the action takes place in the lives of the mostly-sane people affected. Usually in books of this sort we find out from the narrator what the author wants us to speculate about the characters. The fascinating part of this novel is that we are also privy to the participants’ analysis of each other. This demonstrates the complex web of interactions between people in everyday life, showing how their weaknesses and fears combine with those of their loved ones, sometimes with tragic results. Every minute motive is pored over from several different points of view. Every action has its response, often the wrong one.

Still, the characters are viewed with sympathy and understanding, and we really find ourselves rooting for them in their efforts to live happy, productive lives.

My only quibble with this writing style is that the voices inside the character’s heads all sound the same. There are no individualistic traits or forms of expression to help us tell whose point of view we are sharing. Likewise there is a sameness of tone throughout the story, a lack of variety and intensity of emotion. This leaves the story permeated with a sense of hopelessness that we desperately wish relieved, but it never happens.

However, it does prepare us for the ending, which contains one of the most interesting ways I have ever seen of wrapping up the loose ends in a story.

Recommended for those interested in deep immersion into the psyches of damaged characters when they interact.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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