The Conception of Zachary Muse, by Jason Hinojosa

Review published on March 14, 2013. Reviewed by Marleen Kennedy

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

[product sku=”9789380905440″]When Evangeline Muse gives birth to her baby boy in the lagoon she is alone. Returning home with the newborn she lies down on her bed where Will Archer finds her and cuts the umbilical cord, before lying down behind her. When he wraps his arms around her he whispers that he will love her for the rest of his life. Will however is not the father of the baby called Zachary.

After this first scene the reader is taken back to more than a year before Zachary’s birth. We meet Evangeline Muse and her parents Michael, who is in charge of the local church and Maya with her red hair. We are also introduced to Thomas Greene a young man who is still discovering what it is he really believes, who he really is and where he belongs in the world. Thomas is Evangeline’s tutor and attracted to her. When Will Archer arrives in their peaceful coastal village to start work on a wooden statue for the church, he sets in motion events and emotions that will lead to the birth of a baby boy and big changes in and for Thomas.

This short book is something special. It is not a mainstream novel in any respect. The story is told with a minimal use of words and descriptions; the language used is subdued. The reader is forced to read between the lines and draw their own conclusions. Reflective, meandering and dreamlike the story seems to flow as if on a gentle breeze, taking the reader along on a smooth and peaceful yet profound journey. This appears to be a world in which life happens without upheaval, yet momentous events take place.

This is the sort of book that will reveal more to the reader with every subsequent reading. It is a story on which you will want and need to reflect. Almost more happens during what is not told than in the things that are described on the page. The Conception of Zachery Muse is a story that would benefit from a group discussion because what you get out of it will, in large part, depend on what you bring to it.

This is a story with religious undertones that never tries to press a certain view on the reader; a story about passion without ever getting passionate; a story about love that is only ever shown but never spoken of. Very little is disclosed about the character’s thoughts and emotions and yet you end up feeling that you know and understand them. An awful lot is disclosed in very few words.

This is a very special book. The story is barely there and yet it is fascinating. Almost poetic in the reading this is a short book that manages to tell a big story with very few words.

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