Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review: What Casts The Shadow by Seth Mullins

“What Casts The Shadow” by Seth Mullins has a very coming of age feel to it. Granted, in this book, the boy, Brandon Chane, has already had to become a man in caring for his younger sister, Rachel, beneath the gaze of alcoholic father, Robert. We are along for the building of the band, The Edge of the Known, from its inception, to its infancy, to its very first grand tour and it is quite a ride. Brandon opens by telling us about the edge and how it feels to come close to it before he returns to when he and Tommy first came up with the idea of the band. It has the feeling of two rebels looking for a cause, something to tie them together and to the world they both live in.

Brandon’s life situation at this point is far from ideal. He is the only caretaker for his younger sister, Rachel, after the death of his mother and the dissolution of his father into alcoholism. He has a deeply melancholy look at life. Tommy, for his own part, has a good relationship with his mother, but as his father is never mentioned, it is safe to assume he’s no longer in the picture. Both young men have passed beyond high school and entered into the early stages of adulthood where one has to find their way in the world. What they find their way to is the dream of a band which will allow them to change the music scene with their creativity. Along the way, they meet and lose Tim, the original drummer for the band, but as they say several times in the text, he doesn’t need it the way that Tommy and Brandon do. Tim is replaced by Carlos, a kindred spirit who has seen the skids and all that has to offer, and is now looking for a road out. A road the band seems to offer him. Together, this trio embarks upon the goal of a lifetime, the first interstate tour of the band.

Brandon, the voice of the text, has a few other souls who in his words ‘lay him bare’. There is Janie, his girlfriend whom he meets at a gig where he gets into a fight with a patron who is harassing her and loses. She is his shelter, a calming influence that offers him the first love he’s ever truly allowed himself to feel. Then there is Saul, a therapist who comes into Brandon’s life at just the right moment and though he doesn’t always say the right thing at the right time, he continually steers Brandon toward a self-enlightenment that at first Brandon is reluctant to see. Saul’s philosophy is that each human in turn creates their own experience. Nothing outside of you can effect you except what you allow to effect you. Surrounded as he is by these others, Brandon embarks on the music makers path toward enlightenment and perhaps fame and fortune. The book closes not on certainty but possibility.

It is an interesting read. Brandon’s voice is strong and true to itself. He seems reliable even when he is busy telling you he is unreliable. The characters all speak with voices of their own drawing you in to the minor neuroses and moments of failure and triumphant Brandon goes through. It is, despite being a work of fiction, a very honest book. It has the sound of a memoir of a famous musician reliving those early days of struggle. For that reason, I think readers of memoirs will find the story compelling. It isn’t just meant for those who are looking for a touch of magic in an otherwise straight edged story, but for those who are looking for that straight edge. I personally enjoyed the read and look forward to other work by Seth Mullins.

Seth Mullins writes visionary fiction that merges our invisible inner world with the waking world that we call ‘the real’. His stories aim to reveal aspects of the deeper mysteries of reality and of our own souls. His most recent project, The Edge of the Known trilogy, was largely inspired by his experiences as a twenty-something songwriter and performing musician. Seth has spent years in Connecticut, New Mexico and Oregon, and currently lives in Vermont.

WEBSITE: | BLOG: | TWITTER: @SethMullins1 | FACEBOOK: What Casts The Shadow | AMAZON: BUY NOW

This has been an Elite Book Promotions Review.

1 comment:

Seth Mullins said...

Thank you for such a thorough and thoughtful review, Alledria. I am honored. Kind regards :)