THE AFFIRMATION is at once an original thriller and a haunting study of schizophrenia; it has a compulsive, dream-like quality. Peter Sinclair is tormented by bereavement and failure. In an attempt to conjure some meaning from his life, he embarks on an autobiography, but he finds himself writing the story of another man in another, imagined, world, whose insidious attraction draws him even further in . . .
©2012 Christopher Priest (P)2012 Audible Ltd
The Affirmation is less sci-fi than pure psychological thriller ending in a cul-de-sac of schizophrenia. Peter Sinclair is a young man dealing badly with the death of his father, a romantic breakup, and lost employment. In an effort to sort things out, he decides to write his autobiography as a means towards self discovery. This work progresses from straight fact through liberal editorial license to finally a complete fantasy tale of another world. At this point, reality (as the listener has come to accept) intrudes and suggests that Peter may not be well grounded in the happenings of things around him. What follows is action that switches between these two worlds as Peter perceives he is slowly coming to grips with the problems all around him. In the end, he appears trapped in a mental hell of his own making.
The sci-fi elements are minimal with Peter's fantasy world possessing a purported immortality treatment. Peter's descent into madness is subtle and nearly understandable given the behavior of people around him (an overbearing sister and suicidal girlfriend). The fantasy world offers a glimpse into Peter's preferences for how the world should operate as well as interpersonal relationships.
The narration is excellent with a good range of voices and a delivery tone that matches the mood of the tale. The speaking pace is a bit brisk and requires careful attention; this is a quick, but dense listen.
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