Thursday, 10 September 2020

Review by Jon Wilkins of "Wretch" by Ansgar Allen



 
Wretch.
A novella.
A stream of consciousness.
Bleak.
Brutal.
Visceral.
A tale set perhaps in the past, a present or a foreboding future.
Dystopian.
We don’t know when or where.
A tale of a prisoner.
The Wretch.
Why is he there?
Physically and mentally rotting away in a prison where he copies
(“A diligent copyist”) 
words.
“Producing my own words, or more exactly reproducing and reordering words I have heard!"
A world where travellers explore the unknown city.
The unknown regions.
What are they looking for?
Who threatens them?
Returning mad.
Or not at all.
What breaks their sanity?
Writing reports.
Hiding reports.
Collecting reports.
Returning reports.
On paper that rots away.
The paper mill produces
paper that disintegrates.
Another metaphor.
For what?
Hope?
Despair?
There is no hope for the Wretch.
The Wretch copies.
His writing machine breaks.
Or he destroys it.
Replaced, he copies.
This is his life compared to the travellers
with their burdens.
Reminding them of what?
Just as the Wretch carries his burden.
His machine.
Punishment for what?
Reminder or crime?
And their struggles in a frightening outside.
Why do they lose their teeth?
A novella full of metaphor but so
black and white.
Full of repetition.
Emphasising the solitary 
repetitive world of
the Wretch.
His life is repetition.
Who put the Wretch away?
Why are they threatened?
As many questions as answers.
The answers are for you to find.
They are what makes this novella unique.
Wretch by Ansgar Allen:
an experimental novella of an experiment?
You decide.
It is an ugly world inside and outside of the known city.
Discover it.


About the reviewer
Jon Wilkins is sixty-four. He has a gorgeous wife Annie and two beautiful sons, and loves to write. He is a retired teacher, lapsed Waterstones’ bookseller and former Basketball Coach. He taught PE and English for twenty years and coached women’s basketball for over thirty years.  He has always loved books and reading. You can read a review of Jon's recent novel, Poppy Flowers at the Front, here

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