a review by Karl Wenclas
Sometime later, a man named Theodore would be able to verify how surprised Chester was by the events of that day. He would know this for a fact because Chester told him so.
While Chester was being held captive in Theodore’s basement.
Are you a fan of unusual novels? Those unlike anything you’ve ever read?
THE REVELATION OF CHESTER FORTUNBERRY by Don Waitt is an unusual novel, focused on questions, ideas and arguments more than plot– though there is a plot, one centered upon the question, “What’s really happening?”
A philosophical discussion in the form of a novel, the protagonist, Chester Fortunberry, is in dialogue with his mind, as well as with several characters who may or may not be reflections of his mind. They’re debating the proposition, “Is everything a figment of our imagination?” The discussion explores three areas: “1. Time. 2. The mind. 3. The universe.”
At the same time the book is a mystery story.
Why is Chester Fortunberry being held prisoner in a basement? Who is the man feeding him? Who are those behind the man– including the two men in a shiny black Cadillac who’ve been following his every move? What is it all really about?
The novel is thought-provoking. At one point it even touches on fine-tuned universe theory–
“Yes, billions of things had to align in just the right way at just the right time for us to exist. For you and I to be sitting on this beach. We are the result of a quantity of variables our minds can’t even fathom. An extra atom here or there, a few degrees hotter or colder, and we would not exist.”
— which surprised me. (A theory I read about in a book by Stephen Hawking.)
Some of the discussion then is heavyweight stuff, but presented in a crystal-clear style which anyone can follow– proving what I’ve always believed, that clarity of writing reflects clarity of thought.
If you want to read a well-written discussion of who and why we are (with a plot puzzle or two thrown in)– like sitting in a room exchanging challenging thoughts with a highly intelligent person– then The Revelation of Chester Fortunberry is for you.
(Photo of Don Waitt.)