Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark

Only an author as witty and clever as Christopher Meades could craft such a lovable, multi-dimensional character as Henrik Nordmark - a 42 year-old man who lives a solitary and completely nondescript life. From the first pages of The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark (ECW Press), Meades paints his protagonist with wry, detailed strokes: "Henrik had no redeemable feature to draw one's eyes...(People) passed him as one would pass faded wallpaper during an increasingly urgent search for a toilet."

While Henrik longs to break free of his narrow, mundane existence as a bored security guard and create a fulfilling life that is "unique" (even if it kills him), Meades skillfully creates a backdrop of characters whose lives are as equally claustrophobic as Henrik's. There are three elderly assassins conspiring a plot from Shady Oaks Park retirement home; Bonnie and Clyde, a disillusioned married couple at wit's end with each other; and Roland, a sophomoric, powerless, young man whose life has tragically become reduced to the confines of his office cubicle. A winning lottery ticket figures heavily into this farcical novel filled with quirky, off-beat characters, mistaken identities, and a host of bumbling, nick-of-time plot twists. The slapstick humor of The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark is bound to offer an entertaining and enjoyable escape.