Book Reviews

The Autodidacts by Thomas Kendall

What Da Cover Says: A man mysteriously disappears in a lighthouse, as if dissolved by light, leaving behind a notebook filled with bizarre claims of a curse and a series of drawings entitled ‘The Death of the Jubilant Child.’ The investigation into the disappearance unearths hidden connections between the disappeared man, Helene and the strange figure of the Man With The Forks In His Fingers. Fifteen years later, the discovery of the detective’s copy of the notebook by Helene’s daughter seems to set in motion a repetition of the events of the past.

Circuitously structured and intensely lyrical, The Autodidacts explores the mythos of friendship, the necessity of failure, the duty of imagination, and the dreams of working-class lives demanding to be beautiful. It is a prayer in denial of its heresy, a metafictional-roman-a-clef trying to maintain its concealment, and an attempt to love that shows its workings out in the margins of its construction.

What I Says: This was an interesting book, the structure is twisted, it is like an escaped madman has found the book, ripped it into pieces and stuck it back together in a random manner…somehow it works, this unique flow pulls you in and doesn’t let go until it is done. The characters have had the same work done to them, it’s hard to tell who is who, each character seems to have multiple personalities. The conversation is disjointed, there is a character who doesn’t fit in but still manipulates the story, characters disappear with no explanation and there is one hell of a creepy lighthouse. On their own these things could be considered faults but put them together and you’ve got a poetic masterpiece, there is nothing out there like this and nothing that will mess with your emotions this much. The cover is epic, it informs you the sort of madness you are about to enter.

There is not much point in describing the plot to you, each reader will find themselves focusing on one part and this will alter their perspective, for me this was about the characters finding out who they are and where they fit into the world, it explains the multiple personalities, and whereas a “normal” book would focus on one character, this one has 7 individual journeys that all twist together. I reckon if I was to read this in 10 years’ time, I would discover a different side of this book and still be blown away and that is where it is so very clever.

A stunning book that burns bright and that is sure to split readers into two groups “WTF” and “WTF, I Love It”, incredible story and highly recommended for fans of David Lynch.


6 thoughts on “The Autodidacts by Thomas Kendall

  1. Quite like the sound of this book… however, a question remains in my head.. I’ve seen you read the book and review it, all the updates flashing in front of my eyes… and I have no clue how to pronounce ‘autodidacts’ – literally doing my head in… I must google it, finally 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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