The Ascent of Isaac Steward

The Ascent of Isaac Steward

4.42 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 as he struggles to deal with the resurfacing of a supressed memory. Isaac becomes increasingly dysfunctional and delusional as the story unfolds in a hypnotic and startling way bringing into play childhood memories of a Punch and Judy show and the revelation from his half-brother, Ishmael, that he must be brought to a tree from his father?s wood called The Dandelion Tree. To help him, Isaac slips in and out of being Major Tom Donaldson, a SAS commander fashioned by his mind to help him regress back to a time of naiveté and happiness. But Donaldson brings only death and violence and Isaac struggles to keep a grip on reality as he descends into his mind. Atmospheric and sensual and dealing with universal desires of love and reconciliation, The Ascent of Isaac Steward is highly readable. Readers will be astounded, transfixed and immersed in the world long after turning the last page.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 216 pages
  • 140 x 225 x 11mm | 259g
  • Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0956881017
  • 9780956881014
  • 902,730

Rating details

7 ratings
4.42 out of 5 stars
5 57% (4)
4 29% (2)
3 14% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)

Our customer reviews

"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 more
by Kathleen Maher
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