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Hey guys, how are you?
Today, I’m reviewing Doorways to the deadeye, by Eric J Guignard, the tale of a courageous young hobo, Luke Thacker. Set mainly in the 1920s and 30s, young Luke hops the American rail-lines, following mysterious signs known only as The Hobo Code.
But, who has been leaving these signs for Luke to find?
In 2019, a journalist named Daniel Greenberg is interviewing a man nicknamed King, who once knew Luke Thacker. This modern part of the narrative is used as a framing device for the main story, set in the 20s and 30s.
As the story progresses, Luke (our main protagonist) comes across another dimension known as Athanasia (this is actually a Greek name meaning Immortal), where the memories of spirits past still dwell, until eventually forgotten.
Describing Athanasia- ‘It’s there, mirroring our life and what’s remembered.’
The story revolves around themes of love, life, and loss, as well as how we come to remember those who have departed for the other side.
The characters that most stood out to me were Luke, Daisy, and Zeke. Although there were various other intriguing characters throughout the book, these were the three that captured my heart. All had their own tragic backstories, explaining how they’d ended up homeless, illegally travelling on the rails for free.
Zeke, a well-built hobo that rides the rail with Luke for a while is protective of those close to him, but at first glance, appears mean and sly. However, he and Luke fast become friends. With Zeke, appearances certainly were deceiving at first.
Daisy, Luke’s one love was a strong, spirited, and courageous young woman who was unlucky to have lost her parents at a young age. She seemed ever the optimist and gave Luke the determination to continue with life.
Finally, the protagonist Luke was humble and highly intuitive, with a love of learning new things. Although he suffers much abuse and loss throughout the story, he soldiers on, a hero to the end.
‘Loss and hardship brought all three together, and mutual affection kept them united.’
The author had a simple writing style that spoke to me. At times, I felt relaxed and hopefully for the characters and their plight, and at other times tense beyond all imagining. The author knows instinctively where to amp up the tension and where to slow down and explore the emotions of his characters in more depth.
I felt a vast range of emotions myself whilst reading this: joy, wonder, sadness. At times, I even shared in the fear and anger of the characters. It felt easy to connect with the characters via their basic human needs and desires, love and safety being two primary needs featured in the story, along with the secondary need to be remembered after death.
There were many profound quotes to choose from but for now, I’ll settle on this one-
‘People change. Our perceptions and values are fluid things: they flow strange ways in our younger years, and even stranger ways in our old.’
This quote made me think about how I perceive the world around me. It also made me think about how I’ve treated people in my life, based on their similarities or their differences. I did a lot of foolish things when I was younger: believed a lot of foolish things.
As we grow as people, I guess all we can do is try to learn from these past mistakes.
Would I Recommend?
Yes. I’d rate this book 5 stars.
This felt like a rare gem of a novel that really touched on the struggles of the homeless and the unknown world of the afterlife.
Thank you for reading my latest review.
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Have a pleasant day, Dax. xoxo