“Book Review: Ms. Never”
Reviewed by Joe Walters
A smart and mysterious metaphysical novel about depression and disappearing souls.
Author Colin Dodds creates a world in Ms. Never that helps illuminate the impact of depression. While readers excavate surreal images for truth on powerful themes, they ride a literary sci-fi mystery toward a place where souls are at stake.
A college student named Farya lives a normal life in Camden, New York. But when she watches the images of a sports bar synchronize, when all of the TV screens suddenly show the same visual, she knows her life is about to change. Camden, New York disappears. No one has any memory of it, except for Farya. She lives with the guilt of letting everyone go and not knowing whether she’ll let it happen again.
Meanwhile, Bryan the CEO has his own secret that lets him stay afloat in the upper class and grow guiltier by the day. As he aims to step away from a selfish lifestyle, one customer buries him deeper into the issue, letting him know that he is forced to keep selling souls in his company’s cell phone contract. Farya and Bryan’s stories run parallel to one another, both keeping our attention and drawing us ever closer to when their stories will converge.
“‘I mean, if you lose your phone, … they’ll think you’re dead and give away your cubicle and your bedroom. But some days, you lose your heart…’
‘…and no one would notice even if you told them.'”
Ms. Never is mysterious in two primary ways. As readers piece together the lofty, nuanced surrealism of disappearing memories with Farya, they also glance over their shoulders wondering when Bryan will be kidnapped again. It’s a great way to keep us looking closely at the page, and I really enjoyed the mystery of it all.
This novel also juxtaposes a rich CEO’s story with an overarching theme of depression, offering regular reminders that the two aren’t often separate. With themes uniquely developed and a musicality to the prose, this novel is sure to make fans of literary fiction happy. It can be a difficult read at times, and I did experience the occasional uncomfortable moment, like the BDSM pet and the bizarre ways Farya tries to stop herself from having seizures, but overall, this is a great story with a powerful theme and enough mystery to keep you asking questions.
If you’re into metaphysical literary fiction, this one is sure to satisfy. It introduces a really unique concept on understanding depression and its impact, and it could help readers feel understood while taking a journey to the place of disappearing souls.
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