The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't believe it.
I just realized that I haven't updated my top ten book list in my own mind for almost a decade. I certainly haven't modified my top three in over 25 years.
What I have just read has just supplanted number three. Perhaps even number two.
For the moment, I feel like it might have supplanted number one.
I cried like a baby when I closed the book, and even now I can't believe what I just read. It was lyrical and it unpacked with a density of a rushing locomotive. It was full of heart and soul, and it was smart, smart, smart in its choices.
It is a double tragedy. Raphael Carter, as far as I can tell, never wrote another novel. I will likely be a lifelong devotee to this novel, and I'll be rereading it soon. I'm already missing it and I just finished it.
Maybe it's a triple tragedy, because the book is out of print. I was lucky enough to find it used. As far as I can tell, the novel is the greatest unknown mystery of the world. So few people even know about it. Hell, I need to shout out its praises to the world and not let this beautiful work ever be forgotten. And yet, it is. I only picked it up because Jo Walton praised it from her mountaintop as a work that should not be forgotten, and I can't thank her enough.
What is the novel, you ask? It's the soul of humanity as sung from the soul of the last whale. It's the redemption and utter loss of ghost girls and cyborgs. It's the chains that we bind ourselves with, whether in our heart or our minds or everyone else. It's hope. It's horror.
It's recalling, for me, the most heartbreaking moments of V for Vendetta, a movie I've seen a dozen times so that it brings me to tears. It takes the best traditions of cyberpunk and pushes it through the meat grinder, showing us what despair can lie behind the eyes of telepresence ratings.
It's about same-sex true-love and mind rape.
Too much for a novel of 288 pages? Hell no. The writing carries it all and a lot more, effortlessly. This is what I want to make when I grow up.
And it hurts, almost unbearably, that so few people will ever have the chance to experience this novel. If there is justice in the world, then everyone would have the chance to cry over it.
288 stars out of 5.
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