Monday, June 14, 2021

Spotlight: The Essence of Nathan Biddle by J. William Lewis

Author: J. William Lewis
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press (June 1, 2021)

A subtly wicked, almost Southern Gothic tale of existential angst told by 18-year-old Kit Biddle, an anti-Gumpian southern boy struggling with the complexities of life. The story unfolds against a backdrop of painful chaos: Kit’s revered uncle, Nathaniel Tyler Biddle, Jr., has sacrificed his only son on direct and specific orders, according to Rev. Biddle, from God himself. As Kierkegaard has suggested, the comic and the tragic converge on Kit’s desperate search for meaning in a willy-nilly world of opaque walls and filtered light.

The enigmatic Anna appears with all the attributes of Kit’s yearning and imagination and then, just like that, she disappears like a phantom in a fog, only to be replaced by the enigmatic Sarah who reverses the roles and projects onto Kit all her desires and imaginings. Standing on one leg in the darkness, Death beckons to Kit with a promise of light and comfort but instead leaves him lying in his own blood on hot pavement with neither clarity nor relief. Who is Kit Biddle? He may actually be Nathan Biddle but who in the world is that?

When the fog dissipates—if the clarity he seeks finally appears—does Kit really want the answers he finds?

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