What Are We Reading?: Here & There, Joshua V Scher
Rating: 4/5 Intriguing Developments
Give me the short version: House of Leaves meets The Philadelphia Experiment.
I enjoyed this. I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, to an analytical reader the close adherence to the House of Leaves model and story arc: including the nested “mystery” narratives of protagonist (i.e. young resentful person struggling with adult identity) into documentation, a dissolute friendship based around wild freeform lies in bars, the typesetting, references, the false flashes of love and redemption, and the analysis of crumbling domesticity as catalyst for greater disaster may obfuscate Here & There’s emerging story, which is a real shame. With a taste for psychology and physics rather than space and occupation Mr Scher has fascinating material to bring, a deft touch with revelation, and an almost Crichton-esque accessibility to the layman for higher concepts. He writes in a style with straightforward resonance, offsetting the complexity of the narratives. Of course if you’ve skimmed existing reviews Here & There is obviously not an experience for everyone; but by the time I was 5% in I was already thinking “This story was MADE for me!” It especially began hitting its own more unique stride in the second half, which is also when my habit of reading the best bits out loud to my partner got me sent out of the room. Ultimately I’d very much recommend this to read, but unless there’s some in-joke about entanglement afoot I feel the story might have been served better striking off on its own path and asserting itself as something really genre-defining, rather than occupying a shape that another tale so famously inhabits.
"Every accident is an act of falling – an act devoid of control, an act impossible to govern."