Read Arturo's Ghoul by A.Z. Banda Free Online
Book Title: Arturo's Ghoul|
The author of the book: A.Z. Banda
ISBN 13: 9781482370607
Edition: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Date of issue: May 7th 2013
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 598 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1941 times
Reader ratings: 5.3
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A young man named Arturo wakes in the middle of a scorching desert, unsure of who he is or how he got there. All he knows is that a strange, terrifying creature—the Ghoul—is standing over him. Can Arturo learn any clues from the Ghoul about his past or how he arrived in that desolate, hellish landscape? Maybe . . . if only he can survive long enough to unravel the truth.
So begins Arturo’s Ghoul, a unique and entertaining novel that defies both convention and categorization. Is it heady fantasy, Romantic adventure, or mind-blowing symbolic allegory? However you choose to define it, you’ll be hard-pressed to put this one down.
Drawing on a setting reminiscent of the era of colonial expansion, the story could take place in the 19th or early 20th century—or even in the present for all we know. It’s altogether unclear, but the ambiguity is not without purpose. In fact, it’s disorienting in a pleasant sort of way and effectively straps us into the well-worn boots of the protagonist, Arturo, whose bewildering amnesia only deepens his thirst to understand the nature of the surreal fantasy world unfolding around him. And it is a surreal world indeed . . .
Within these pages you will find a village whose inhabitants all appear to be insane. The town is called, aptly enough, the Town of Nut. Arturo encounters a helpful doctor who specializes in mental disorders—and yet he may be madder than anyone else in the town. Should Arturo follow the doctor’s clues and heed his advice?
Along the journey, hints of classic mythology manifest themselves through seductive purple-eyed sirens, whose beauty and voluptuousness tempt Arturo beyond even what Odysseus had to endure. And then there’s the paradisiacal promise of a city known as Nepenthe that seems to linger in some far off land of whimsical imagining—but is it possible to grow too fond of comfort and forget the meaning of life without adventure? Can the lessons of the lotus-eaters be applied even to daily routine and domesticity?
There are baffling, almost Wonderlandian characters that appear throughout the story in the form of giant frogs and venomous talking serpents. There are gruff treacherous sailors who spin enigmatic yarns, a mermaid whose beauty belies a devastating secret, and even a tribe of hungry island cannibals whose craving for human flesh is surpassed only by their obsessive devotion to worshipping pigs. The list goes on, and the funny thing is that it’s all so bizarre, and yet after a while you become quite accustomed to the strangeness. Indeed you almost expect and demand it—madness is a form of addiction after all.
There is a whiff of the existential that runs through Arturo’s Ghoul, but it does not overpower. While there are darker moments—and certainly the exploration of struggle and survival on its most basic level can make for darker fare—these are offset by the humor and outrageousness of many of the unique characters and their situations. Indeed some of the writing is overtly tongue-in-cheek. Take for example, the skeleton crew of a ship, whose pitiful ghostly sailors are indeed made of skulls and bones.
The style itself is quick and breezy, and yet a certain poetic sensibility infuses the prose, lending even mundane story events new and fascinating meanings when seen through the eyes of Arturo. Indeed, our hero is all too ready to supply a metaphorical interpretation of reality as he goes about his strange odyssey. In one scene, as Arturo treks exhausted through a desert scrubland, he suddenly realizes that walking is an art form and he imagines his legs to be paintbrushes dripping paint onto the canvas of the desert landscape. Many such interesting descriptions and symbolic language pepper the text, enhancing the literary quality of what is, by itself, already a solidly told story.
But despite all of these outward trappings—fun as they may be—it’s really the central mystery of the novel that drives the story forward and keeps us going to the climactic finale. Who is Arturo? How did he arrive in a world that resembles Earth but which is strangely, unsettlingly, and unmistakably different? Can he ever find a way back to the ‘real Earth’? And finally, who is the Ghoul and what, if anything, does he want from Arturo?
At first glance, Arturo’s Ghoul appears to be a gripping adventure ensconced in a puzzle—a tale of travel, of survival, and love that just happens to be peopled by a coterie of fantastic characters set in a magical world. But ultimately, at its heart, the novel is nothing less than a creative and thought-provoking exploration of the nature of reality itself and what it means to be human—to be alive. Perhaps you could see it as a kind of journey between various stages in life: the heaven of love, the hell of regret, and the purgatory of not knowing your own self. Since the theme is so expertly wrapped within the story and its pervading mystery, Arturo’s Ghoul becomes that rare kind of novel that you will want to read again and again, finding new clues, details, and interpretations every time. Tantalizingly, it seems the author left the door open just wide enough to make an interesting sequel a real possibility—based on the imaginative characters and the intriguing fantasy world that’s been conjured up for us, I’d say this story universe is ripe with possibilities.
Of course, everyone will have his or her own take on Arturo’s Ghoul. For some it will stretch the limits of the imagination—the novel can be seamy, beguiling, and even maddening at times, so obviously it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But personally, I found Arturo’s Ghoul to be a fantastic, heart-stopping tale, many scenes of which would be at home on the big screen. The story is indeed a page-turner, but its true significance goes far beyond the plot’s own labyrinth of twists and turns. There are deeper symbolic and subconscious levels at work here, and the most rewarding thing to do as a reader is to seek out and uncover them for yourself. Much like a treasure hunter armed with a map, entering the story world of Arturo’s Ghoul is like undertaking a voyage of self-discovery, but in this case, the gold and jewels are the experiences and memories you have along the way, and indeed the ultimate lasting treasure is the adventure itself.
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