Verdict: THE WESTERN GOLEM demonstrates a remarkable imaginative vision.
A young man named Olan witnesses a series of bizarre incidents after encountering a police officer who explodes into dozens of white mice.
What can be said that hasn’t already been said about the supernatural fantasy genre? A great deal, if THE WESTERN GOLEM is to be believed. With no laws of physics to constrain it, the book is something of a free-for-all, allowing its author’s imagination to spill vibrantly forth without adhering to any sense of urgent pacing. Olan, an everyman whose calmness and composure in the face of a rogue cop is remarkable verging on eerie, is witness to a police officer exploding into mice. Shortly thereafter, he begins to have a remarkable series of encounters–including meeting up with an individual who can alter Olan’s emotional state through a kind of telepathic process–that definitely place him out of the realm of the ordinary. Ostensibly, Olan’s on the run from a pair of supernatural beings that take human form, but what a slow run it is.
As with any work of fantasy, the key component to making it compelling is understanding what is at stake, and THE WESTERN GOLEM struggles to maintain this sense of urgency against a tide of highly imaginative but ultimately meandering encounters (a man loses part of his arm, and it doesn’t gush blood: it’s just…empty space and is hampered by numerous technical flaws and weak craftsmanship. The odd dialogue (a blend of third-rate Raymond Chandler and stilted cliché) combined with the rampant syntactical errors transports this book into a kind of cult realm of purposeful weirdness. “I think I see what you’re playing at. You think because I work at a bakery, I’m dumb enough to fall for this setup? Wait for me to leave and then try to pin my involvement with the likes of him—if he is indeed a real criminal. That is quite the coincidence, don’t you think?” Unfortunately, the emotional beats within the work take so long to manifest that it’s difficult to sustain any kind of tension or pull. The first chapter is a perfect example of this: a man is held at gunpoint for nine pages when his emotional reactions could have easily been contained within two pages, and this elongated style unfortunately continues throughout the rest of the work.
THE WESTERN GOLEM demonstrates a remarkable imaginative vision.