The Anachronist

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
194 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In The Anachronist by Thomas Bauer, Charlie Shultz feels his life as a husband, father, and employee has been one big disappointment and failure. His marriage to Rebecca is toxic and loveless and his son ignores his existence, preferring the company of video games. Even Charlie's annoying neighbor and work colleagues view him as a strange non-entity. But on the weekend, Charlie evolves into the heroic Simon Culpepper, an aristocratic Captain of the 15th Artillery Battery of the Confederate army reenacting Civil War battles. Although Charlie tries every way to save his marriage, Rebecca's cruel taunts continue. Charlie's only respite is when he transforms into Simon and soon the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. He meets Amanda, an imaginary character at the reenactment camp, and is immediately drawn to her, which further complicates his version of reality. As Charlie's life begins to spiral out of control, he takes drastic action for his voice to be finally heard.

I absolutely loved The Anachronist by Thomas Bauer. The descriptive narrative is exceptional and totally transports you into the complex world of Charlie Shultz and his alter ego, Simon Culpepper. Every character's personality is vibrant and realistic. Although there are many comedy moments throughout which are really funny, there is an underlying feeling of sadness for Charlie. The author has cleverly included some subtle references to Charlie's upbringing which has affected his view of the world and himself. I feel this explains Charlie's behavior a great deal. The same can be said for his wife Rebecca and why she has become so bitter toward her husband. I thought the tension toward the end was perfect and highlighted how every person has their breaking point. The humor was exceptional throughout but if you look deeper, there is so much more to this story than laughter. There are some powerful messages within the story too.

Pikasho Deka

The Anachronist is a black comedy novella written by Thomas Bauer. Charlie Shultz is a middle-aged Civil War reenactor living in Virginia. Constantly nagged by an unsatisfied wife who calls him a loser and ignored by an apathetic son who's more obsessed with video games, Charlie finds solace playing the character of Simon Culpepper, captain of the 15th Artillery Battery of the Confederate Army. After being denied a promotion at work, Charlie and his wife Rebecca grow more distant, leading him to immerse himself further into his persona. Apart from his beloved cannon, Betsy Sue, Charlie finds joy in the company of Dolores Preston, an elementary school teacher who acts as a Confederate Army camp follower. But his obnoxious neighbor Lenny Caulfield's intrusion into his personal life may be the last straw for Charlie and push him over the edge.

Hilarious and tragic in equal measure, The Anachronist blends heavy topics such as depression with dark humor. Thomas Bauer's tale feels unique and authentic and entertains you all the way through. The characters are compelling, with distinct quirks that make them all the more intriguing. I found Charlie to be a riveting protagonist with a complex personality and depth that you need to peel layers to decipher. The narrative is paced well and is crisp and concise. The dialogue is laden with dark humor that I found extremely funny. I had an absolute blast reading The Anachronist and gobbled it up in one sitting. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy reading books with dry humor.

Christopher Anderson

In The Anachronist by Thomas Bauer, we read about Charlie Schultz, a married man with a teenage son, who has a passion for history especially the American Civil War of the 1860s. Charlie considers himself as Mr. Average in real life, but he is a member of a reenactment group where he plays the part of Captain Simon Culpepper, the complete opposite of Mr. Average, who is the commander of the 15th artillery battery of the Confederate army. Charlie is a stickler for historical accuracy whereas some of the other members don’t take it as seriously. But one of the women of the camp, Dolores Preston (aka Amanda) also likes things to be authentic so Charlie is attracted to her beauty and her zeal for authenticity. Another of Charlie’s passions, which he takes along to the battle reenactments, is Betsy Sue. Read this exciting book and see how things turn out for Charlie Schultz/Captain Simon Culpepper and Betsy Sue.

In The Anachronist, Thomas Bauer writes in a way that is very descriptive in the scenes, events, and characters of the story and gives excellent details of situations. The story keeps you captivated as you learn about people’s feelings and innermost thoughts, especially as you get to know Charlie Schultz as Captain Simon Culpepper. It’s fascinating as different people enter the story and how their words and actions have an effect on the mind of Charlie Schultz. As you read the story, you learn about the attachment Charlie has to Betsy Sue and the ridicule he has to endure in his passion for historical accuracy and his love of the time period. An excellent, very well-written piece with elements of love, hate, sadness, sorrow, action, drama, passion, laughter - a very pleasant book to read, with a surprising ending. I hope there is a sequel!