Welcome to Parkview by Brian Paone is the most complex modern-day novel I have read. I have my own approach to reviewing a novel and it is completely useless in this case. There are more complex novels; many can be found in the classics, but they are complex for different reasons. There are modern day writers artistically popular but “difficult to understand.” This novel is different. It is like a jigsaw puzzle and it is presented in layers of reality. If there is one central question a reader might ask while reading the novel, the question would be: what is real? Giving a reader that question as a guide is no help. Somewhere near the end of the novel, completely new directions and realities emerge. For those who want to look ahead, forget it. The story is difficult to follow when reading in its order of presentation. Flipping to the last few chapters would make no sense at all.
In other words, this is a fantastic five-star Amazon read for readers who want to work through complexity. Readers constantly meet worlds both real and unreal. Vampires aren’t real, right? One element of the novel is a Vampire romance story. There is a virtual world which contains three mainframes separated by a barren world. One frame is reserved for bad virtual actors; the other two are for good actors who can alter their worlds by thinking of what they desire. Paone does excellent world building for this part and the descriptions are mind-bending. There are occasional hints in all worlds about unseen spiritual-like influences which make sense when you consider the following.
The town is Parkview, Massachusetts. The band is the Reinforcements, a group with six members at the novel’s start. These are two central ideas to keep an eye on in this shell game of “Where is the pea?” Many, many characters will appear and disappear under horrible conditions, but all characters will have some relation to the six original band members. Parkview will emerge as a town with recurring tragedies: murders, kidnappings, robbery, a school shooting, disappearances, suicides, and people trying to escape the town. At least one resident of Parkview, Vinnie, is trying to write things down, figuring there must be a story here somewhere. Except for the writer’s block. It is amusing to encounter a writer writing about a writer writing about …
Other than a jigsaw puzzle, this story structurally resembles a Chinese Nesting Doll. Stories are enclosed within stories. There are many authors of reality. And as each author writes, there are connections and references to the reality of the next reality above. It is impossible for me to examine an incident that is interesting without reference to a connecting element, and that would constitute a spoiler.
If you want a book to challenge your mind, this is it. If you need clear explanations and certainty, move along, there is nothing to see here. There is even a classic creation of the world story/myth.
There is not a lot of graphic sexual language or situations but when they show up, their presentation might shock some readers.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author via Voracious Readers Only.