***A huge thank you goes directly to the Author, B.F. Spath, who entrusted me with a copy of his novel in exchange for an honest review***
Back when I was a high school emo kid I really wanted to prove that I understood deep meaningful literature. Stuff that others, most certainly had a hard time getting, but because I was on a higher level I would just “get it.” My first and only deep dive into this frame of mind was when I attempted to read Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. If I remember correctly I maybe read five pages before I realized, “hmmm, I really don’t get this,” and proceeded to put it on my bookshelf where it has remained untouched for for all these years. I feel like B.F. Spath‘s The Sun Temple is in the same vein, but the difference here is I actually read a bit further.
On the surface one could easily say that this is a story about a man’s enlightenment, however one could also surmise that perhaps there is more at play here than simply a man who chooses to worship a Sun God. You follow the main character/narrator as he traverses the city of New York through a thick haze of cannabis day dreams and come out of the other end of that cloud changed somehow, even if you don’t yet know it.
GOOD: Though the narrator may be just this side of insane, that doesn’t seem to be the point. I found myself enjoying the ride through New York even if it was on the handlebars of a cannabis loving, sun-worshiper. You definitely begin to feel what the narrator is feeling and it almost leaves you in a manic state.
We follow the narrator as he leaves his apartment and wanders around The Old Battery (Battery Park). We journey with him as he describes the buildings he passes in order to enter said park as well as the structures and people he meets once he is inside the park’s boundaries.
It was kind of hard to understand what exactly his relationship with the Sun was. There are parts in the story where it is clear that he is worshiping it like a priest in his holy place and there are other times that he goes from admiring it, to almost being jealous of it, to outright yelling at it. He could have also been jealous of the other people who seemed to not need to do much to get the sun’s attention in comparison to him who felt that he had to accomplish this great trek from his apartment to The Battery in order to even be noticed.
Despite my lack of understanding of the plot beneath the drug high, I was able to at least experience the intensity of the narrator’s plight. To want something so badly, to be someone else, are all themes that are relatable and in that way it makes the narrator relatable.
It was an interesting read, one that I was at least intrigued by, but not one that was easily read. I’ll admit, it took me a long while to get through this story despite it being the length of a novella. I guess that goes to show that readability doesn’t equate to the amount of pages a book contains.
I also found it difficult because even by the end I didn’t fully grasp the journey the narrator was on or what Spath wanted me to take away from his story. I mean there is a journey, but it doesn’t feel overarching like say the standard heroes journey. I could say that was one of the things I enjoyed about it to a certain degree, it was definitely out of my comfort zone, which I don’t get to experience much when reading.
I have a hard time saying that I would recommend this book, not because I don’t think people would get something out of it, but more so that I wouldn’t know who to recommend it to. That being said, I have to admit in the end, it was an interesting read.
3 out of 5 Stars
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