Today on the blog dear readers I am reviewing The Passing Of The Forms That We Have Loved (Published By Epoque Press 16 Sept. 2021) By Christopher Boon. A big thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to read and review, always appreciated.
The Passing Of The Forms That We Have Loved
A young man, dealing with his father’s terminal cancer, retreats into introspection on relationships both old and new as a past mired with failure comes back to haunt him, consuming his present and threatening to derail his future. Exploring themes of loss and repentance, The Passing Of The Forms That We Have Loved questions whether formative acts of indecisiveness can have far reaching repercussions in later years.
About The Author
Christopher Boon spent his formative years in a small village in rural Hertfordshire. He studied English at Manchester University and, upon graduating, worked for three years as an English teacher in Ogaki City, Japan. He now works as a teacher in southern France. The Passing of the Forms That We Have Loved is Christopher’s debut novel. He started working on it after his father died of oesophageal cancer in 2008 and whilst writing it his mother also succumbed to cancer. These experiences helped shape the novel. Christopher has also written a trilogy of screenplays based on loss and is currently working on his next novel.
This story is told in three parts, Death, Disintegration and Dismemberment. The narrative follows a young man who is unnamed, he speaks in first person and tells his story of how it all began. It was after his grandmother’s funeral that he met Bea (Short for Beatrice) who begins working as the assistant manager in the wine shop he works at. The narrator has not long since moved to the area and is still finding his way around. He learns that Bea is from the North of France and finds himself watching and admiring her from afar. The more he looks at her the more he feels that he recognises her in some way, like he has known her for a long time. Not long after, his father is sick and he watches the slow decline in his health. He envisions himself in a few years wheeling boxes of stuff out of the house and into a van, packing away or donating belongings that were once important and now serve no purpose. It is while watching his father slowly die that the narrator begins to question his life. The point of working, what’s it all for in the end? He begins a relationship with Bea but is often thinking of his old childhood friend, Emily. He soon reunites with her after the tragic events in his family and becomes once again addicted to her, thinking of a life they could have together.
The echoes of the narrator’s past and his memories stalk him constantly throughout the book. The narrative switches from these memories to the present and also to visions of what he imagines as his future. It is absorbing to read as you feel present in each and every moment. You get pulled in and find yourself up at 3 a.m. desperate to discover how the story will end. You become addicted.
Boon has created an interesting character in the narrator. He is complex and is unsure of what he wants. He has an idea of how things should be, that him and Emily are fated to be and rests his hopes on them being together when he is already in a loving relationship with Bea. There is also the conflict in the character’s mind of wishing his father to die, for him to no longer be suffering and living in pain. He details the raw reality of watching a relative whither away to nothing. It’s heartbreaking to read and difficult at times as the father’s illness is extremely detailed, bringing that honest, blunt imagery of Boon’s real experiences to the page. You find yourself with tears running down your face as the narrator thinks back on better days, days before the cancer began to eat away at his father. The time ticks away slowly as you find yourself just waiting for inevitable. There is a great sadness to him and yet also a lack of emotion at times as he finds himself unable to find any real attachment to reality. He is fascinating to read as you want to understand him, why he feels this need to fill an empty void when it appears he is already full. You want to understand why he feels the way he does, is barely satisfied with life and has a hopeless approach to living it. It’s thought-provoking and keeps you hooked.
There is an eerie silence that follows the narrator throughout the book. The silence when his father dies, the silence in his home, the empty nights he finds himself staring at the night sky. It sent shivers down my spine as the anticipation of death lingers in the doorway. You know it’s coming; you just never know when.
I give The Passing Of The Forms That We Have Loved By Christopher Boon a Five out of Five paw rating.
A captivatingly raw vision of life, love and death.
Boon is a master at capturing the moment, allowing the reader to soak up the atmosphere. I could hear the drizzle of the rain outside on the window, feel the sand beneath my toes on the beach, getting completely lost and caught up in his visions was not only a delight to read but also enjoyable. I highly recommend this book to everyone, it will break you.
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