This book is full of many different narratives and perspectives all intertwining to form one larger, mostly cohesive picture. It is a fascinating way to write a story, and it works particularly well for this one. This story spans centuries and covers the globe as the characters keep meeting in different lives. Because the story is so expansive, and most of the characters don’t really see the larger picture, telling the tale from multiple perspectives allows the reader a deeper level of understanding with regards to the characters’ thoughts, feelings, motivations, and shared history. This is really important in a book that, by the nature of its telling, can get quite confusing.
The central characters are the scientific Cassius, the artistic Henri, and mysterious Memphis, but they are accompanied by a wonderful array of minor characters who all have rich and eccentric inner lives of their own. The whole first chapter, for example, follows Bertrand M. Pale as he gradually becomes invisible. This chapter could easily stand alone as an eerie short story. One of the brilliant things about this book is that all of the characters are completely odd, but, because we get to see through their eyes, their oddities make sense. It’s quite charming, really.
In writing this story about reincarnation, Conyers pulls a lot from classic source material, reinventing authors’ words and styles to tell a new story. On its own, this creates a fun game for literary nerds (like myself): trying to spot the different references. This style also works really well with the central theme of the story. Just like the characters are experiencing multiple lives, living a different tale each time, so, too, are the words themselves.
Overall, Forever Human is a wonderfully complex book that will certainly keep you guessing. However, with all the characters, timelines, and supernatural elements, it is easy to get lost. This is one of those books where the plot is not nearly as important as the journey. If you can sit back and enjoy the story for the whimsical, confusing, fantastic ride that it is, you will be rewarded.
|Page Count||232 pages|
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