by Gilgamesh Uth
Genre: Literary Fiction / Myth & Fantasy
Print Length: 312 pages
Reviewed by Akram Herrak
A genre-bending tale about a man lost in all senses of the word and his connection to another world
Author Gilgamesh Uth starts out this novel by establishing Ourman as a famous hero figure. He has been in literature since the dawn of time.
After describing the magnitude of the story, it jumps to a random spot in the story’s time. “All roads lead to Rome.” So much of the novel is built upon this story—subject over platform—disregarding what is expected of the novel form and opting instead for an experimental approach, one which jumps between forms and styles. One moment it’s narrative fiction, then it’s poetry, then it’s stream-of-consciousness. Ourman gets his tale through many mediums.
This story opens with our main character, our man, Steven, on a vacation with his wife Pink. He wanders around the strange city without her and meets a peculiar character who walks around with him, talking about the city and its people. While discussing his ideas about crowds, he finds himself behind a gate, locking him out of the city.
Steven soon finds out that there is no way back inside, and he will have to start his life over, forget his wife and his job, and become a janitor to survive. Years pass, yet Steven still can’t piece it all together. That is, until he starts receiving more and more clues. A big mystery starts to unfold as we follow the tale between time periods, between different characters and other worlds.
Ourman is a fascinating read. It constantly shapeshifts in form and subject. What may be off-putting or confusing to some requires just a little bit of patience to understand what is going on, and it rewards you generously. The story of the novel can only be called tumultuous, keeping the reader on their toes without the faintest idea about what awaits. The story spans different characters, settings, eras, worlds, and all of them conclude in a satisfying manner at the end of each story.
What is the novel’s biggest strength can also be its weakness. While Ourman blends many genres and forms, some of them are better executed and more captivating than others, and a few times, I found myself struggling to remain interested as the mystery goes adrift. But I thankfully stuck through and was rewarded for it. The ending leaves many questions hanging, but it does close the story satisfyingly and leaves room for a sequel.
Ourman is a great read for those looking for something out of the ordinary. It takes a beautiful, fairytale-like story full of magic and morals and builds out of it a novel that refuses to take the form. Expect to go in bold directions in this mythic tale.
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