Off the Furrow by Mark Lages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So far, I've always been able to expect certain things from Mark Lages with every book I've read: every single time, he always doubles down on the perfectly average white, middle-aged, male. It is generally introspective, usually set within an average family with mild conflicts and everyday issues.
So what sets this apart from anything? Or even the other, similar type novels that were written by Lages?
Off the Furrow. Or rather, if we are going to get slightly less euphemistic about "madness" and call it what it is: existentialist dread and depression, the feeling that life has no meaning. The others often danced around this or were couched in other things like a stay in a hospital, but this one stares directly into the abyss without ever letting any reader go down with it.
This book, like the others, are almost always a light touch. It's meant to be extremely gentle with every truth but it never shies away from any. And in the end, it sets you down carefully and pats you on the shoulder.
I usually never come across books like this. I'm usually slammed up against the wall or maybe that was never the purpose of the book, but this one definitely tries to tug on all those emotions.
Whether it works on you depends on you, honestly. This will not break any boundaries or glass ceilings or even challenge you. But if you want something that makes you feel better about being whomever you are, it DOES succeed in that.
And maybe that's what readers sometimes want.
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