Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: "High as the Horses' Bridles" by Scott Cheshire

In a year where I came across numerous debut novels that really pushed their boundaries, dared to do something new and gave the reader an amazing experience, I hate to come across one that does little of any of that, which is the sad case of Scott Cheshire’s debut novel High As the Horses’ Bridles. This is a novel that is never interesting and never daring, despite a plot that might warrant some really cool developments. I finished it yesterday, yet I am still trying to pinpoint any kind of reason as to why this book never works. I mean the overall quality of it is such that finding a specific fault is hard. The only parts I liked here involved the main character’s father, but all of the rest left me feeling empty and desperately wanting something new. I will try to sum up the plot as best as I can. In the early eighties, a young boy belonging to a far, far-right sect of the Catholic Church has a revelation about the end of the world. Years later, this incident has defined him in a negative way, and on a trip back to his home in Queens, New York after the break-up of his marriage, his interactions with his father and memories of his lost love, forces him to look back on his family’s legacy. Writing that, I think I have an idea as to why this book ultimately falls flat: it tries to hard to be like other books instead of carving it’s own path. Looking back on the opening scene, where the kid has his revelation, it tries to hard to be like the opening baseball game in Don DeLillo’s Underworld. And while that piece of writing is amazing, what Cheshire does here is just boring and uninteresting, with the whole thing devolving into a pandering passage that should have been excised. I hope Cheshire can go when he sits down in front of his typewriter for Round 2.

Rating: 2/5

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