Derowitsch’s (A New Global Ideal, 2016) allegorical novel follows a young man at a crossroads.
Kyle Redding—who is best described as ordinary—is a 17-year-old living in Salem, Oregon. The narrator explains the lack of much of a description for Kyle: “How do you really describe someone who is just about average in every way?” He befriends the new girl at school and thinks she has girlfriend potential. After Marah Deni rebuffs him, Kyle tries to kill himself. He doesn’t succeed, and a voice guides him to a street called Kingwood, where he embarks on a surreal adventure and meets many strange characters. The most sinister is a jewel-covered snake, aka Leviathan, though some call him the “Soul-Devourer.” Lucky for Kyle, there are plenty of people looking out for his best interest, including Clive, who’s hammering away at a typewriter. One need not know much about theology to figure out that a story that includes a combination of a cunning snake and a writer named Clive is likely to have something to do with Christianity. And so the reader is guided through a tale dotted with occasionally playful creatures (e.g., cartwheeling squirrels) and focused on the importance of understanding one’s true spiritual needs. Events move quickly, propelling Kyle to a new understanding. Watching Kyle’s growth gives the book its best moments. He is even shown the spiritual states of people he thinks he knows pretty well. Although these sights aren’t as punishing as Dante, they provide a lasting reminder that all that glitters isn’t gold, a reminder that works well in a story that, though threaded with silliness, is in the end very serious business. All told, such a combination makes the book’s message obvious but also digestible and even a little bit fun.
A playful, Christian romp through an imaginative world.