Title: The Blackbird Singularity
Author: Matt Wilven
Review: The first thing that really caught my eye about this book was that it wasn’t separated into parts but into trimesters. The first chapter of this book was amazing. It was chillingly gripping with the death of a child, drugs, depression and the dread/joy of a new baby on the way and how those devastated by death can bring a new life into the shadowed world.
I feel very sorry for Vince as he dealing with lithium withdrawal, his son’s death, a new baby and most of all there seems to be no intimacy between him and Lyd. Most of her family are under the impression now she is pregnant again she is stuck with him, when we know he is trying his best to become the best dad, best man he can be before the baby arrives. Although he is deceiving his wife by now taking lithium for his mania which was a strict condition she set in place for taking him back after Charlie’s death, I still feel he has a good heart after all the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
We being to see that Lyd wants so desperately to hold on to the past, to Charlie and everything that is happening in the present is disrupting that whereas Vince wants to move forward to put the past where it belongs and in their own ways they are slowly falling apart, the question is can they be put back together or at least hold on long enough for their new baby.
Vince is trying to change aspects of his life, like getting closer to his mother and to Lydia, but he unconsciously developed a sort of friendship with a blackbird who he feels is special, but it is at this time he begins to hear noises in the attic above Charlie’s room and he is constantly reminding himself of the symptoms of mania so he can hide them from those he loves around him especially Lydia because she would leave him if she found out he stopped taking his medication.
The way the book is writing it is like we are inside Vince’s head throughout his struggles, trials and the little moments of joy he finds in the cracks of his life. As I am reading through this novel I am finding it hard to process all Vince’s emotion as they ebb and flow in rapid bursts.
By the time we get to the second trimester Vince is starting to feel more like himself but in doing so he realises how distant Lydia has become especially with the pregnancy, and how haunted he feels by his son’s death and packing up his room and redecorating doesn’t seem to shake this feeling.
I loved how Vince seems to always end up in the wrong place at the wrong time especially when people are concerned. But I am also really concerned for him given his history having a new baby on the way, watching his best friend’s marriage fall apart due to affairs, second guessing himself on whether he actually wants the new baby, I feel sooner or later without his medication he is going to go over the edge.
The blackbirds seem to mirror children in this novel, as Lydia and Vince both beginning hearing things, footsteps and laughter that belongs to Charlie, they begin to unravel although both try and hide it from the other. At the halfway point in the novel I am filling with so many emotions I can’t place or begin to understand. As Lydia comes round the idea of a new child Vince starts getting cold feet, it like they have be opposites if he wants it she doesn’t and vice versa, although neither can forget the nagging thoughts of Charlie at the back of their minds like a betrayal that they don’t even know they have committed.
After this Vince’s life takes a major nosedive his book gets dropped and he has to repay his advance, Lydia found out he stopped taking his medication and she is leaving, we don’t know if it is for good but we do know his life has just fallen apart around him. As Vince spirals further into depression and withdrawal he begins to hallucinations of Charlie all the while drawing himself further and further away from Lydia and the baby.
In this last trimester of this novel Vince seems to be getting more drawn into his mania but also feeling like he is getting better at the same time, while to everyone else like Jamal, Lydia and Peter he is falling back into the same patterns of behaviour he had just after Charlie died. And during all this craziness he is trying to salvage his relationship, find himself and become a suitable father.
The last 70 pages of this novel were astounding. Vince and Lydia get back together before the unusual birth of their daughter. And in the end Matt Wilven doesn’t leave us a happy ending but he certainly leaves an opening to one. This means that after the ending the characters could be happy or they could relapse into the spirals and voids of depression they have always known, and it is something we won’t know the answer to but I’m completely ok with this.
I was left with so many feelings at the end of this book, they were good mostly but some slightly bad but overall Matt Wilven has written an astoundingly beautiful novel with some of the best writing I have seen in a long time. I read the whole book in 2 days and I can’t wait to read more by this author. I have already started recommending it to family and friends and I see major potential in this book and its author.
This book was sent to me by Legend Press for review and is posted as part of their blog tour
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Kindle Edition: www.amazon.com