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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
I by Zeyan Zyrus is a book that caught my attention by its very title and I thought I’d be picking up a book on ontology. No, it became something that had the same effect on me as when I read Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The reader is introduced to a strange character, at once possessed by the power of an imaginative mind and cursed by the darkness of his existence. “I imagined being pulled into a light hole, being disgorged into another life, one cell at a time, to find myself inside a different person, different sets of emotions, different levels of awareness, to a shoreless ocean or … into emptiness without matter and sense…” I was gripped and wanted to know if this prisoner of fate can find freedom. Who is this character who is so powerful yet very, very lonely? At once philosophical and filled with mystery, this narrative takes the reader on an unusual journey to the intersection of light and darkness.
The language is poetic and the lyricism in the writing is nourished by rich imagery and an ingenious use of symbolism. This manner of writing is deeply felt in the author’s handling of setting and in the descriptions of the emotional and psychological state of the characters such as when he talks about “… a quiet morning of a premature summer that felt like a morning of a white winter inside a cabin built precariously on the ridge of a snowy mountain, wobbling gently to the wind’s caresses.” The first person narrative voice is powerful and pulls the reader in from different directions, creating a strong sense of mental presence in the narrative. There is a form of eeriness in the story that leaves the reader hanging between dreaming and wakefulness, and this eeriness doesn’t rob the story of its realism, but reinforces the strange workings of the mind. The language is powerful, the structure unique, composed of one page chapters, each offering an episode, a puzzle, a piece of the mysterious, haunted life of the narrator. The use of the stream of consciousness is appropriate and it pulls the reader into the mind set of the protagonist. Zeyan Zyrus’ poetic style caught my attention and the perceptiveness in the writing kept me turning pages. A unique book.