Ella was about to strike out on her own – to leave her terminally naive and childlike live-in boyfriend Andy and his far-too-precocious and serious daughter Clara, find her own apartment, and devote herself to her job and her beloved bonsai, Clarence. But the invasion of a bizarre, cavemanlike intruder traps her in an increasingly complicated labyrinth she can’t seem to escape – and that’s only the beginning, as possible terrorist plots, mysterious old childhood friends, and strange new religions push themselves into Ella’s once quiet and peaceful existence. Can Ella find an escape in a world gone oddly mad?
CAVEMAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD presents us with a dystopian future – or perhaps alternate reality? – that feels as though reality’s been twisted around ninety degrees and dropped on its head, but is still staggering around pretending everything’s totally normal. As the story goes on, more and more of the world’s oddities present themselves – memories that don’t quite match, terrorist plots that don’t quite add up, relationships that don’t make emotional sense – leaving the reader questioning every assumption they’ve previously made, until the final resolution hits and – perhaps, almost – explains matters. The worldbuilding is beautifully done, paradoxically made even more beautiful because Ella’s world is melting like wax around her and neither she nor the reader are quite sure of what is real and what isn’t.
The plot moves quickly and has all sorts of odd twists and turns to keep the pages turning. Every character seems to have a different agenda and a different idea of what’s going on, and their interactions are, therefore, confused and confusing both to the reader and to each other – but never, ever boring. The writing is vivid and descriptive, drawing the reader into the story and adding to the disturbing emotional tone of the underlying mystery. This is a book for people who enjoy it when authors play mind-games with their readers and their main characters, setting puzzles and sowing confusion in enthusiastic and entertaining fashion.
CAVEMAN AT THE END OF THE WORLD is a fascinating, mind-bending look at perception, reality, consciousness and what it means to be human.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader