E O Chirovici
The Book of Mirrors
Hardcover: 336 pages
26 January, 2017 2017)
For any book – let alone a debut – to force the reader bolt upright in bed, staggered by what they have just read around 40 pages in, as did E O Chirovici’s The Book of Mirrors, takes something special and then some.
Packed with intrigue, riddled with tension, laced with duplicity and crammed with superb characterisations and dialogue, if there is one novel assured of banishing the winter blues then this, surely, is it.
The story surrounding the murder of an esteemed psychologist may appear run of the mill, but take splashes of Twin Peaks and add dibs and dabs of An Instance of the Fingerpost and what you have is a literary cocktail at its driest and most potent.
Chirovici has previously written a 100,000 + best seller in his native Romanian yet, remarkably, The Book of Mirrors – his first in English – nearly never saw the light of day. Rather like the executive of Decca who told The Beatles that bands with guitars were “dead”, surely there are agents somewhere today wondering what it is they have passed up here.
The writing is tighter than a spool of fishing gut. Its style and insouciance adding layer upon layer of craftily laid misguidance down on a road salted with glitter and mist, so we are compelled into second, third and even fourth guessing without success.
The sense of time and place – despite its multi-viewpoint narrative – is sharp and crisp, saturated in authority and spitting credibility at each syllable, whereas the emotive interior monologue slows the rip-roaring pace not one jot. The characters are in no way stereotypical, hewn as they are from life’s journey and iced with a pallet knife pen that has been wielded so lightly and skilfully it is as though we are staring at them through the page.
As for the plot, well, Alfred Nobel may well have discovered dynamite but Chirovici must have written the guide book. This is explosive stuff that is kept dampened just enough to let the fuse fizz and crackle along to the conclusion, then detonate into a vast array of dazzling sparks and stars.
In short, 2017 has got off to a blinding start and for all those who have books to publish later in the year: Watch Out. There’s a new guy in town and, man, is he good!