Vianvi Podcast Book Review 2018 #3 by Viga Boland
If you decide to read All the Ways You can Face the Sky by Farlo Ben Truman…and you should…prepare yourself for a very different journey into literary fiction. Truman’s approach might initially confuse you: it will take a while to figure out just what he is doing. Once you have figured it out…or think you have…you’ll find yourself wondering how much of what you are reading is actually taking place in the real world and how much is occurring in the narrator’s mind. And therein lies the challenge to the reader to keep on reading. If you do, you will be rewarded by a most touching story that somehow takes you where other writers rarely go: inside your own mind.
Plot-wise, the story is simple enough: two drug-addicted guys hook up in rehab and cut short their stay before they are ready to face life again without drugs. Not long after, during a drug-fuelled binge, a young fellow looking forward to a bright future gets shot by one of them. The protagonist, Miles Rockerfeller is the one of these two who, as a result of the murder, lands himself a 5-year prison term. Since his guilt in the murder has always been questionable, he is finally released from prison, armed with a load full of prescription drugs to help with the pain he’s suffering from a nasty prison beating. As you might guess, it isn’t long before Miles is once again on the path to self-destruction.
But before you jump the wrong conclusion that this book is all about tripping out on drugs, as I nearly did, rest assured it’s not. What it’s really about is tripping out on your own thoughts, the ones you never share with others, even when you’re engaged in a one-on-one conversation with someone who matters to you, let alone those who don’t. This is a journey through a person’s mind as it trips away on a word someone says, or a sight on the street, or a previously un-noticed object in a familiar room…the kind of mental tripping we all do while others are talking, laughing, crying or whatever. It’s multi-tasking of the mind. Time and again, as they read All the Ways You can Face the Sky, readers will recognize themselves tuning out what is going on in their immediate vicinity while their minds meander into other times, places and spaces…and the trip is fascinating!
Farlo Ben Truman has done an amazing job of combining a very touching story filled with lonely characters all in search the same two things: love of self and love of others, with an approach that is so introspective it could lose readers if not properly handled. But Truman handles it beautifully. Kudos to Farlo Ben Truman for pulling off this most ambitious and engaging project that indeed shows us All the Ways You can Face the Sky.