Walls of Phantoms
Courtney M. Thomas
Back Cover: "Confident financial analyst Kyrie finds herself drawn to unpredictable artist Taharqua, but the lonely woman has never had a decent relationship and is afraid of the feelings. Inaccessible Taharqua had made producing his film a priority even over his relationships, but there is a terrible secret which prevents him from committing to Love. Haunted by fears, self-doubt and heartbreak, the two have learned to avoid themselves, their past and more. Now their biggest mistake may be trying to avoid exactly what they need -- each other. Intense in action, bold in scope, deep in passion. Walls of Phantoms is a day to day docudrama of people trying to figure out how to live and love in a complex world. Set in edge 1989 Boston, this modern epic is also a powerful retelling of two ancient classics, The Odyssey and the Epic of Gilgamesh. At its heart however, Walls of Phantoms is a love story unlike any ever told. The sex and violence may shock, the questions raised may disturb, the tragedy may break your heart,but the story will surprise and move. The tale speaks to anyone who has ever loved, and its simple message will resonate long after the last page has been read.."
The only reason my husband bought this book for me is because he decided last Christmas to buy me the longest novel ever written. In his search on the internet he found this book which was billed as the third largest novel ever written at 1320 pages. It is a self published tome and is a modern retelling of Homer's Odyssey. The primary story is about Taharqua - a Black man from Trinidad and Kyrie, a White woman, their relationship and how race plays an issue in everything. Revolving around this couple, are the stories of Ki (his best friends), Imani (his ex girlfriend of 10 years), Don (so called friend and drug dealer) and a homeless man who wanders in and out of the picture throughout the story, to name a few.
This story is very detailed down to what each player has in his/her refrigerator, what brand and style of clothing they are wearing and the minutest feature of their homes. Prior to every scene is a history of events that have taken place since time, which got a bit tedious at times. My husband is a talker and sometimes instead of a simple answer, I get a very detailed, long winded explanation. In other words, he is the type of person when you ask a question, will give you the history of golf, rather than just telling you how to set up the tee. This has become a running joke between us. He was quite thrilled when I told him the book even had the history of Golf in it, which of course I had to read out loud to him. Why the history of golf? Because a discussion was taking place at the golf course. Plus for every person introduced, a biography of their life from their parents up to the point where they fit into the story.
The story in itself was interesting and well written, but I found myself skipping and skimming 50% of the details. If you enjoy reading about the history of race relations, the history of the world, and everything from how granite is made to the history of golf, characters waxing philosophical about everything, dysfunctional relationship, sex, drugs and rock and roll, then you will enjoy this book.
In the end, the moral of the story is, it's all about love.
Excerpt: Chapter 1 - page I-9
December 21, Wednesday
Then this foreboding chill came. Few took note then when it first slithered in. Chills, often creep through in summer. This one however coiled itself around, and through, and stayed. Early in September the strange chill frosted the breeze and scorched green leaves fire red. By Halloween it was glaciating rain into sleet, and on Thanksgiving it caused the blinding snowstorm that dumped on New England.
The Old people read the forecast and knew. Something was wrong.
Now on the first day of winter the sun never broke from the horizon. It kindled little heat onto the land and when it set at 4:15 pm the air instantly turned brisk. It also snowed all day, the plows never stopped, and by the time after-work residents went to dig out their cars and to clear their sidewalks, the snow had freeze dried. Digging out exhausted, and people retreated indoors to bulbous fires and to goose down comforters. The chalky roads were left deserted.
Then the shadows came.
The street-plowed snow looked like trenches and ramparts, and the fresh ice covering it like white GI Joe soldiers frozen in battle. The deserted roads seemed a besieged war front and if the light dropping from street lamps made this wintry war theater eerie, then the resulting shadows made it all look deadly real.
Then the noise came.
Polar winds - the nighthawks - whirled into the commonwealth, like breaths blown from those puffy=check avatars depicted on ancient Ptolemaic maps, and they scoured the city through the long night. The winds wailed and whistled and wooed like sirens then cut the ear of he who listened. They cleared and crisped and parched the air then sliced the nose of all who inhaled. They muffled every warm body they met and coated all with hoarfrost.
The cold, the shadows and the noisy winds signaled that the dead of winter was here, and their Stygian cries echoed their triumph.
Then the homeless man was there."