Title: These Nameless Things
Author: Shawn Smucker
Major Themes: Adult Books, Allegories, Fantasy
Synopsis: Though Dan has helped many people escaping from the mountain, he still hasn’t seen the one he’s been waiting for, and time is running out.
Sometimes, I read books and have a hard time categorizing them in my mind—These Nameless Things was one of those. I’ve been following the author for several years now, and appreciated what I’ve seen him share online, but never had a chance to read any of his books—until now. This time, I got to join his launch team, and I was thankful for the chance to read this book, as well as interact a little with others who were enjoying the story! And what a story—I’ve never read one quite like it, but I feel like I’ll be chewing over this one for a good while to come!
One thing you may wish to know: This story is apparently quite heavily influenced by Dante’s Inferno, which I would be interested in reading since I’ve read this. Obviously, since I haven’t read the book, I can’t comment on those inferences here—but I wouldn’t be surprised if that would add more depth to this book.
Dan has lived near the head of the village for many years. And though he’s helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people who escaped from the mountain, he’s only ever looked for one—the one who hasn’t come. Now, things are changing. Time seems to be running out. When his life begins to fly to pieces, will he be able to figure out what’s happened in the past—for his own healing and for the others around him? When he does find out some of what happened, can he find forgiveness? And will he be able to get to his brother before it’s too late?
These Nameless Things is a beautiful allegory in many ways, wrapped up in a strange-feeling tale. There’s a lot of hidden things in this story, mysteries that aren’t really explained but somehow still understood in their own right. The rules in this world don’t make sense—and yet, oddly enough, they do. But the allegory…I love the sense of redemption that flows throughout the book. Often it’s hidden behind grief and pain, but this book has hope embedded in its pages. It’s quite likely one of the deepest fictional stories I’ve read this year—whether it was intended to have depth or not!
But like I said, it is something of a weird story. The weather seems to be determined partly by the people’s emotions, but even moreso by what the antagonist is doing. There’s no explanation for how people got from the “before” to the “here”—but in this case, that doesn’t matter, because they have to find redemption in the now. And it isn’t easy. That tug—the wanting to set things straight but the realization of the near impossibility of the task—was fascinating to watch.
In all, if you like books that make you think and fantasy that has a few broken rules but a very solid story world, check These Nameless Things out. You likely won’t be disappointed. In many ways, I’d consider it a masterpiece.
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: This book is an adult read. Nothing overly sensual or violent happens, but the way it’s written is more for adults.
If you want specifics, here they are: There is lying throughout the book. In ch. 1, there is talk of people getting tattoos, an unmarried couple holding hands, and a story of someone who almost drowned. In ch. 2, a woman who escaped is discovered, naked and needing help. In ch. 4, there is a mention of a woman who tried to move in on a man. In ch. 5 a man remembers something about the details surrounding his birth. An unmarried couple hold hands in ch. 7. A man curses in ch. 8 and a woman confesses she wanted to kill someone. In ch. 10 an unmarried couple kiss and the phrase “God-forsaken” is used. In ch. 11, there is talk about a rape, lots of lying, and a woman touches and kisses a man. The word “cursed” is used in ch. 12, and a woman recounts seeing a plane crash, killing her baby. In ch. 13, someone tells a story about someone who was drunk and “hell on earth” is used. In ch. 14, a woman tells about her experiences working for an ambulance and seeing a lot of people who had died, as well as some bad injuries. In ch. 15, houses catch on fire, and a woman touches a man to convince him to do something. In ch. 19, a man remembers sitting beside a woman when she was in bed and kissing her, remembers seeing his brother drunk and forcing him to fly anyway. Someone dies in ch. 20. In ch. 22, a man is found, half-naked and tormented, and a girl drowns—a pretty awful setting. A man lies about seeing someone in ch. 23 and the word “sworn” is used. A man wonders at someone else’s scars in ch. 24, wondering if it was from abusers, and a woman tries to choke someone. In ch. 25, people fight, there’s a story about someone who died, “sworn” is used again, and there’s lying about the girl who drowned. A man is badly hurt in ch. 30.