Friday 15 January 2021

Review by Mark Mayes of "Turquoise Traveller" by David John Griffin

Another very intense novel from David John Griffin. I enjoy stories about dreams and dream worlds, and also the concept of the quest, both are aspects of this novel. The imagery was rich and well-described, and almost hallucinogenic, like some extended hallucinogenic trip.

The further you go on into the story, the more apparent it becomes that this is a spiritual quest which Stave must fulfil, both for himself and for others. The book looks at dream states as their own kind of reality, with rules and a purpose. Tremelon Zandar, who is a keeper of nightmares, is a formidable foe for any dreamer, and his concern is to corrupt any dreamer's dreamscape, and turn all beauty into ugliness and pain and, quite frankly, nightmare.

Towards the very end we have some deeper sense what Tremelon might represent.

As said, the descriptions are powerful and vivid, and in some ways Stave's nightmarish journey reminded me of a computer game, with he as the hero passing through various 'levels' of skill and understanding, in order to fully manifest his spirit.

At times, the imagery is so rich and comes so thick and fast, you need to pause in order to take it in and visualise it in your mind. Aspects of the story reminded me of Jung's concept of the shadow self and needing to face that in order to fully integrate oneself in life.

I found the ending satisfying and was glad that Stave and Cassaldra had made it through - I won't mention who Cassaldra is here, as this may spoil your reading of this book.

So, in some senses this is fantasy, and in another it is more a psychological adventure into the dreaming mind, and the nature of being, and the quest for a full manifestation of the pure self. In that sense, it has a spiritual component, as well as being an intriguing and at times startling ride into the unconscious.

About the reviewer
Mark Mayes has written three novels (The Blue Box; The Grass Below; Crimes of Others), a children's book (Is it Tomorrow Yet?), a collection of short stories (Take Away the Sky, and Other Stories), and a collection of poems (Winter Moon). He is widely published in magazines and anthologies. Mark also writes songs.

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