Publication Date: January 3, 2014
In The Traveller by Garrett Addison, a man who has been beaten down in his life and job transforms while on a trip for work. Suddenly instead of the man to be stepped on, he is a rising star unable to do wrong. When a person rises so high they will certainly fall so will this magical ride last or will the Traveller find himself back where he started?
The author, Garrett Addison, gave me a copy of this novel for review.
Italian Poet F. T. Marinetti is known as a pioneer of the avant-garde movement in fiction for his idea of “words in freedom.” Fiction that explores the traditional boundaries and formulas and calls to the reader to read the words but look within for the meaning. The Traveller by Garret Addison, for this reader, fits into that avant-garde genre. Whether intended or not, the narrative gives a vibe of being deeply symbolic and requiring deeper thought on the part of the reader. Its possible that this author one day got bored and decided to write a novel but the feel of the story is of intentional depth and big life lessons. The story, at its heart, is about revenge but at the core is the human experience.
The unnamed protagonist is living an ordinary life with his family. A life he seems to dread. As he prepares for the trip with his wife the reader gets a sense of crushing routine. He packs the usual clothes in the usual suitcase and contemplates the inevitable blow to his ego that yet another encounter with his soul-crushing boss will bring. She doesn’t trust him and makes clear that he is incompetent at every opportunity. He seems unwilling through obligation to the other unnamed characters in a situation destructive to his sense of being. When his change comes it does so sort of without explanation or cause. The protagonist experiences a great deal of introspection within the story. The realization of new strengths and hidden depths drive him. When someone professes to believe in him, the unnamed protagonist is riding a high that readers may believe will inevitably end but this is quite a different piece.
Despite its unusual structure, The Traveller is an easy storybook to follow but a hard story to forget. I spent days after finishing The Traveller trying to decipher what I, as a reader, thought was really going on in the story. I have to wonder if some of the characters names are named to represent a descriptive slang term. Fanny, for instance, is a randy air hostess. “Fanny” is British slang for female parts. How much to read into those names especially as I’m not fully versed in British slang? There are greater themes but they are displayed in somewhat common activity. It seems our protagonist is prepared to rise above his daily existence when we meet him and he’s as surprised with who he becomes as we are.
If you’re looking for an action-packed, thrill-a-minute kind of novel The Traveller may not be the right novel for you. If you’re looking for something a bit abstract that brings readers to their own conclusions about what’s really going on in the story (I won’t spoil the story by telling you the conclusions I drew), The Traveller might just be the perfect novel for you.
Read an excerpt and buy The Traveller by Garrett Addison on