Book Review: A Giant Comes
Reviewed by Timothy Thomas
A brief, poignant tale of woe with a deceptively simple plot that grapples with our faith in community and institutions
Do NOT be fooled by the title—this book does not play in the same literary sandbox as as The Iron Giant or Clifford the Big Red Dog. Taking inspiration, instead, from renowned cautionary tale Don’t Look Up and the harsh, grounded reality of Attack on Titan (a mashup I never thought I’d see but definitely works here), A Giant Comes has a straightforward premise that obscures several timely, interlocking themes: a giant is coming, and the village must prepare.
The book opens on a boy whose job as a newsboy is the only thing keeping him and his alcoholic, abusive father from homelessness and abject poverty. When tasked with delivering a package to an old man who at first rejects it, the boy is invited inside and the old man tells him a story as explanation for his refusal to accept the package.
The story follows a boy who joins up with a traveler on his way to deliver an important message to a nearby village: he has encountered a giant in his travels that is heading right for the village. Though the village elder believes him, everyone else is much more divided, and the traveler finds himself bumping heads with everyday civilians, merchants, and the church itself, especially when weeks pass and no giant has appeared.
As the town loses faith in the claims, the people (led by the priest) react violently to the intruders until a frightening discovery is made.
Author AJ Saxsma’s novel serves as a microcosmic reflection of our world today. Brewing beneath the surface of what at first appears to be an orderly and organized village are severe social, economic, and religious injustices that quickly bubble to the surface when the traveler makes his declaration.
A Giant Comes holds up a mirror to show us how close to disaster we really are. As history has repeatedly shown, the house of cards we call civilization is only one bad day away from crumbling around us. What happens when we see past the scapegoats to the systemic problems underneath? What happens when we realize the only thing holding it all together is the faith we place in our institutions and our communities? Saxsma’s novel provokes these questions but leaves it up to us to answer them. Its purpose is to highlight the futility and vanity of our ways, and it does so with remarkable brevity.
The author’s fleet-footed writing style will spur you on to page after page with ease, while the book’s stirring and provocative themes will leave readers of literary fiction with much to consider. I would gladly recommend the book, and I hope to read more from Saxsma in the future.
Genre: Literary & General Fiction
Print Length: 145 pages
Thank you for reading Timothy Thomas’s book review of A Giant Comes by A.J. Saxsma! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.