A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better

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A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better

A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better

RRP: £99
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The significance of the children's serial is lost on me, although it is clear that Dan identifies himself with the young boy in the story. It’s 1995 when Kath is persuaded to let Fran take Daniel on a road trip to Leeds to see the set of a children’s series, Artifex, which Daniel loves. This is the heart of a beautifully constructed novel: a portrait of a bad man, a very real, familiar bad man. On the road, Daniel listens to an Artifex audiobook, and passages from it augment the narrative but add nothing. This book had a gripping first half; the build up to the major incident was packed with suspense and tight writing, and although slow moving, this rammed up the intensity and urged me to read on.

She’s sure Albert is from her planet, because normally people can’t see or hear her, and Albert can do both. A 12-year-old English boy’s road trip with his father afflicts the rest of his life in Wood’s uneven latest (after The Ecliptic). If it hadn't had been for Europa Editions publishing this, I most likely would've never come across his work.A story of a boy who was eager to form a bond with his rolling-stone dad; what he didn't know is that this bond would ruin his life forever. The plot of The Artifex parallels Daniel’s journey, a device that might seem trite in less skilled hands, but here the elements are balanced perfectly. Every phase of Fran’s moral slippage, from the false bonhomie and the phony assurances to the alarming upsurge of mania and muddle, is disquietingly registered. How he went on a road trip with his father, Francis, a journey that had a really rather shocking end and one that has haunted him into his present.

twelve-year-old Daniel is waiting for his father, who promised to take him to the set of "The Sorceress", the boy's favorite TV series, where he works as a decorator. His parents marriage is obviously broken and as a 12 year old, he is trying to reach out for the love of his father. The acclaimed author of The Ecliptic has written a novel of exceptional beauty about the bond between fathers and sons, and the invention and reconciliation of self—weaving a haunting story of lost innocence and love. I still might have given it four stars but for the final section which I thought self indulgent and poorly connected to the earlier story. Sometimes the bubbling undercurrent of impending violence felt like rambling, but at a point, you realise you’re totally enraptured in the development of the plot.The main character tells the story of his childhood into adulthood as he reflects on how he manages the memories that no one would wish for. In particular, Daniel’s love of The Artifex – and his reliance on an audiobook of the story during the trip – acts as an anchor during scenes that are otherwise hard to endure.

In the latter stages of the novel, Daniel is an adult, obsessively trying to reconstruct those dramatic events from memory, witness statements, and video evidence. Ostensibly a teeth-grinding, nerve-rattling thriller, albeit one that dips occasionally into nostalgia for a lost childhood that never was, via an almost inevitable predilection for a particular type of British children’s science fiction, now long deceased; and one that also features a lengthy road trip, encompassing a profound psychogeography of the English landscape and its highway system, almost redolent of the 1990s schlock thrill-kill indie movie Butterfly Kiss – its real purpose is to serve as a meditation on the persistence and unreliability of memory, particularly in relation to trauma, of being owned by your past: and the plugging of the gaps of such with convenient and tortuous fictive nuggets, delicious for those of us who wish to punish ourselves above all else, and the notion that the indescribability of experience will trump the facts every time, because the facts leave holes.What begins as the much anticipated trip for Dan, aged 12, with his father becomes an increasingly horrific journey and what makes it so compelling is the clarity and conviction with which Dan's growing disillusionment and eventual betrayal are portrayed. There’s a final section where we see Daniel as an adult, with a beloved partner, and realise that the book has been driving, all along, towards the question of whether he can bear to be a father, whether it is irresponsible for him to taint a child with the bloodline of a mass murderer. Little breadcrumbs and hooks ensure you can't put this book down even though the 'incident' doesn't happen until halfway through the book, about p170! Benjamin is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at King's College London, where he founded the PhD in Creative Writing programme and teaches undergraduate fiction modules. What I got was, indeed, dark, but there is no question of redemption or forgiveness in A Station On the Path… In Francis Hardesty, a man whose temper, capacity for manipulation, and sense of entitlement drive him ever further towards acts of intimidation and murder, Benjamin Wood has created the scariest literary father since Daddy, of Fiona Mozley’s Elmet, or Martin Alveston of My Absolute Darling.

This is all the more impressive since the narrative is filtered through a boy’s mind, so that mounting fear about the father’s violence is fused with pity for the son’s initial trust and subsequent appalled dismay . Francis is estranged from Daniel's mum, Kath, and works away a lot as a set designer/builder, currently working on popular children's show, The Artifex.By the time Daniel recounts the worse I was gripping the book with both hands like I was afraid it would fly out of my grasp!



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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