Ginger Nuts of Horror
By George Ilett Anderson
Through the Looking Glass
Occasionally these books come charging out of nowhere and just floor you, leaving you winded and wondering just how in the hell you’re going to describe what you’ve just experienced. “A Tear in the Veil” by Patrick Loveland is one such book. Whether it is the Gordian head knots that Loveland ties you up in, the heady brew of influences and ideas he blends together or just the sheer kinetic pulse and energy of his writing, I can’t quite determine. All I know is that this, his debut novel from April Moon Books, knocked it out the park and left me somewhat speechless.
“A Tear in the Veil” is a riotously good, genre bending journey into the world of one Felix Brewer as he starts to experience reality from an altogether different perspective. One that increasingly distorts his viewpoint until the very fabric of his life is torn asunder and reveals sights better left unseen. I love that feeling when you read something that just fires off thoughts and images all over the place and “A Tear in the Veil” does that in buckets. I think the best way I can possibly describe this book is that it feels somewhat like a Philip K. Dick and William S Burroughs scripted film directed by David Cronenberg, John Carpenter and David Lynch. Themes of paranoia, alienation and the horror of losing your sense of identity and self vie for attention alongside eye popping imagery reminiscent of films like From Beyond, Altered States, Jacob’s Ladder, Videodrome and They Live. In a “Tear in the Veil,” what constitutes reality is very subjective and open to question.
The novel starts off at a relatively sedate and deceptive pace as we are introduced to Felix and his life in San Francisco. Loveland initially creates an intimate and disarming feel to the novel as we follow Felix in his life and relationships until the fateful day that he is given a video camera with a rather unique filming perspective. From this point onwards, you are left clinging on for dear life as Felix’s world starts to fracture and fragment and he’s thrust into an increasingly desperate fight for survival against dark and sinister forces.
To call this novel exuberant would be an understatement. The writing has this gleeful cinematic pulse to it that infuses the increasingly warped and plastic reality of Felix with a life all its own, full of unexpected twists and turns. Just as you think you are getting a handle on the situation, Loveland whips the carpet out from under you and much like Felix; you are left feeling very disorientated and bewildered as to what is going on. Yet despite the overwhelming assault on your senses, A Tear in the Veil never loses its focus on Felix or his innate humanity. This is a novel that for all its monstrous creations, amorphous flesh and sense of dislocation and alienation feels like it has a lot of heart and soul to it.
I appreciate that what I’ve written probably doesn’t give you a whole lot to go on but for me “A Tear in the Veil” is probably the most enjoyable book that I’ve read this year, bar none. An epic surrealistic nightmare where the dividing line between truth and fiction is blurred and monsters hide in plain sight, this novel is pure class all the way. Buy it!!
When Felix Brewer finally gets the video camera he has been coveting, he discovers a button on the lens housing that isn’t in the manual. Once that button is pressed, the viewfinder shows him glimpses of a nightmarish world living in symbiosis with ours, and reveals his girlfriend, Audrey, to be a frightening creature; her face a burning mass of melting light and distortion. Seemingly alone in his visions, Felix relies on the support of strangers both dubious and intriguing to make sense of it all… and hopefully protect him from the dark creatures that want to brutally silence him. Has Felix discovered a disturbing world no one else can see or is he barreling toward a tragic end through a haze of inherited insanity? A TEAR in the VEIL – the stunning debut novel from Patrick Loveland.