Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: The Advent of Lena by Neil M. Campbell

ISBN #: 9781451509250
Page Count: 331
Copyright: 2010

About the Author:
(Taken from inside back cover)

Neil M. Campbell attended school in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and Edinburgh.  He spent over twenty five years working in the City of London before returning to the Scottish west coast.  He is married with two sons and three grandchildren.

(Taken from back cover)

For Park, spiritual bankrupt with the perfect looks, only beautiful women count until he insults Chloe, a stranger, and the ugliest female he has ever seen.  At once he is struck down by Eddie, her friend and protector.

Park, on his knees, perceives in an epiphany that solely with the help of the woman he has outraged can he find deliverance from the bonds of nihilism and self-regard.

He resolves to win Chloe.  But, bewildered by his attentions and repelled by his egotism, she wants no part in his quest; until his persistence and her own curiosity about his motives eventually soften her distrust of his sincerity.

Tentatively, she allows him into her life, thereby initiating trajectories of self-discovery, commitment, and betrayal along which all involved - including tormented, Park obsessed, Miriam - hazard toward nemesis ... or redemption.

My Review:

I was initially drawn to this novel because it was a rewriting of the classic tale, Beauty and the Beast.  There are some major differences between the classic and this novel (received from the author for review).

When I first began the book, the characters who depicted 'Beauty' and 'Beast' were quite obvious.  Park played the role of 'Beauty' and Chloe played the role of the 'Beast'.

Park, an extremely handsome man, could have any woman he wanted ... and pretty much did.  He was so full of himself that when he saw Chloe, he made fun of her and promptly got put in his place by Chloe's protector, Eddie.  That's when Park has this epiphany about Chloe being the only one who could save him from himself.  He sets out on his spiritual pilgrimage, beginning with trying to win Chloe's trust.

Chloe, one of the ugliest women ever seen by anyone, is understandably unsure of Park's sudden interest in her ... especially given the fact that she overheard his comment about her ugliness.  Eventually though, through Park's insistence, Chloe gives in and gives him a chance.

Over the course of the novel, you got the sense that the lines between Beauty and Beast became slightly blurred.  I still believe that Park and Chloe were the physical representations of Beauty and Beast respectively.  However, soul-wise, the roles were reversed.  Park was so callous and, let's admit it, stupid in how he made his decisions and how he handled various events on his pilgrimage.  Chloe, on the other hand, tried to take everything in stride and handled each situation with grace and aplomb.  So, I think it's safe to say that both 'Beauty' and 'Beast' were represented in both Park and Chloe.

I love the fact that this novel made me think outside the box and beyond physical appearances.  I also love that 'Beauty' and 'Beast' weren't so easily evident as I first thought.  Anybody that loves the classic Beauty and the Beast will definitely enjoy this twist on the classic tale.

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