The Ascent of Isaac Steward (Paperback)
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Short Description for The Ascent of Isaac Steward Isaac Steward thinks he has had a good life so far.That is what he chooses to remember.The Ascent of Isaac Steward is the remarkable and extraordinary debut novel from the senior editor of the prestigious literary magazine, The View From Here. Written with a literary, lyrical voice, the book follows Isaac Steward in an emotional and original tale.
- Published: 16 June 2011
- Format: Paperback 216 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780956881014 ISBN 10: 0956881017
- Sales rank: 492,708
Reviews for The Ascent of Isaac Steward
the ascent of isaac steward
"the ascent of isaac steward," by Mike French chronicles the inner life of
a man on the verge of death. The story traverses the physical and spiritual, real and imagined, popular culture and sacred-in other words, life as we experience it Perhaps most impressively, it conveys the beauty of world and the glory of heaven.
The narrative unfolds in three acts, slowly revealing its true meaning. The protagonist, Isaac Steward, has lost his wife and children in a car accident, and death has almost taken him, but he is still clinging to life, desperate to hold onto what was beautiful in his life, but now only exists in his memory. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that he must come to grips with his sins, petty and great, before he can accept death, and ascend, like his family, to heaven.
Much of the story takes place in the HM Temporal Gyrus, which (I admit I had to look up) is the inner core of the human brain. Other sections of the story take place in "the subconscious tavern." The novel is filled with flashbacks and fantasies: from beautiful, sensual memories of Isaac's time with his wife, to violent film-like dramas.
Reading it as an allegory of man's simultaneous rejection of and desire for God, I consulted my family Bible: Isaac, as in the Old Testament is the son of Abraham, and Ishmael, his half-brother, plays his antagonist. His wife is Rebekah and their two children are Jacob and Esau. Ishmael works with Gabriel, here a tough-assed messenger from above, to help Isaac understand the inevitable truth.
"the ascent of isaac steward" is the kind of book that, once you have raced through it, captivated by the fantastical, crystalline imagery and caring prose, makes you want to start all over and read it again to find all its hidden meanings. Here's a debut novel, you shouldn't miss. by Kathleen Maher