Book Review “A Vagrant at the House of Love” John Horan

synopsis

‘Dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen you.’

A ghost wanders a city, watching people’s lives as the world goes on without him, sifting through his own past in an attempt to understand why he hasn’t gone to heaven or hell. He becomes obsessed with a beautiful but damaged girl, Michelle, and fearing she is destined for the same fate as him, resolves to try and save her.

A Vagrant at the House of Love is a novel about love, obsession, memory, dreams, alienation, addiction and madness, a rage against the heavens shot through with pitch black humour.

A Vagrant at the house of love cover

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First Lines:

Dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. I always thought living was hard but dying is easy. I don’t want to come over all philosophical but some part of me thought it would be a relief, if only I could survive that long. 

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This story in a lot of ways is a no holds barred account of life. Not just the protagonists life, but the lives of those he haunts as well. Nothing is candy coated here. It’s utterly beautiful in its honesty.

Even though the story is told from Racine’s perspective, I still feel like I know only parts of him. The parts he either let leak out or purposefully showed. Even his name, Racine, is not his real one. It’s a bit of reality that he manipulated to create this image of who he wanted us to see.

His character feels very shallow to me. Which when I really think on it is odd. There is a pile of introspection throughout the book that should have made me sympathetic to his cause and in some ways I am. In others though, I feel a bit hesitant to take it at face value.

This is a complicated matter for me. When I initially finished the book I was frustrated. There is no clear explanation or closure of where Racine is trapped or if he gets out. There is loads on speculation throughout the story but nothing is concrete. That annoyed me initially and if I’m honest is what really keeps this book from being great. It’s a dang good book. Just a smidgen shy of being great.

The writing here if fantastic. The story flows well and as a reader I really got the sense of Racine’s listlessness.

I enjoyed the book. It’s not a light read by any means but I have no regrets after reading it. The only real complaints I have are the lack of closure, the unexplained world and the shallowness of the main character.

I’m rating it at 4 stars.

4 star

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Title: A Vagrant at the House of Love | Series: N/A | Author: John Horan |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services | Publication Date: 1-28-2015 | Pages: 106 |ASIN: B00SX6IZYG | Genre(s): Science Fiction  | Language: English  |Date Read: 5-26-2016 | Source: Copy from author

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