Life at the Precipice

Fiction - Literary
300 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2024
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Author Biography

Award-winning author, R.F. (Ron) Vincent, PhD, is a professor of Physics and Space Science at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. In a previous career he flew as an Air Navigator with the Royal Canadian Air Force on the CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft out of Comox, British Columbia. In his novel Life at the Precipice (2023 Best Indie Book Award, 2024 Leacock Award - Bronze Medal), Dr. Vincent uses elements of his military and academic careers to build a compelling narrative that straddles the boundary between the real and surreal. In addition to scientific papers focusing on Arctic climate change, Dr. Vincent has published two other works of fiction: The Curious Mr. Pennyworth and Men in Red Shirts Have Souls, Too (Tall Tales and Short Stories, Vol. II). He lives in Kingston, Ontario with his wife JoAnne.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Life at the Precipice by R F Vincent is a fantasy that revolves around Travis Sivart, a former air navigator haunted by PTSD, who takes an interest in the mystery of The Segway, a secluded community formed after a catastrophic earthquake in 1959. Cut off from the world by landslides and nestled atop a seismic abyss, The Segway lures Travis in with a clipping detailing a mythical sea creature lurking in its depths. As Travis immerses himself in the eccentric world of The Segway, he encounters a diverse array of inhabitants, each harboring secrets and stories of their own. Through his exploration, Travis confronts his past traumas while seeking redemption, solace, and even answers that dance somewhere between the past and the present, against the backdrop of an unconventional existence.

Life at the Precipice by R F Vincent is an immediate drop into fantasy and a masterclass in subverting a reader's expectations and inviting them instead to consider the limitations of their own perceptions and interpretations. Whether it is Jub's posh tuxedo and reliance on outdated newspapers to convey The Segway's remoteness and detachment from the outside world, Travis's search for answers that reflect his sense of isolation and longing for connection, or the General's penchant for embellishment and forgetfulness that demonstrate the subjective nature of truth, nothing in Vincent's incredible storytelling is predictable. The dialogue is intelligent, with turns of phrase, innuendo, and patterns that distinguish one quirky character from the next, and all from Travis. No surprise is greater than the one Travis must confront in the search for his truth, and the mission that evolves as a powerful, albeit heartbreaking symbol of remembrance and closure. Very highly recommended.