Monday, May 14, 2012

Immobility by Brian Evenson

     A man awakes. Or, more correctly, a man is awoken. He does not know who he is, or where he is. He remembers little except for the Kollaps, recalls few details about the past other than a sense that something went very wrong with his world. He does not know whether to trust what the men who have awoken him are telling him. About who he is, about where he is. Even worse, he senses they are lying to him about why he is. Why he is paralyzed, why he is hairless, why he is seemingly impervious to the environment that kills everyone else. Why he is still alive. And without such answers, Josef Horkai struggles with the most pressing question of all: Am I still human?

“They lapsed into silence. The problem with faith, thought Horkai, is that there’s no arguing with it. Same problem, he admitted to himself, with lack of faith” (134).

     Brian Evenson’s Immobility is both a stirring post-apocalyptic thriller and a thoughtful meditation on faith and what it means to be human. For what is faith but the decision to trust what others are telling us in answer to questions that we cannot answer?
     Horkai must decide whether to trust the man who awoke him, the man who sends him on the backs of human “mules” to retrieve a mysterious cylinder. Or the keepers of this cylinder, men who share his physical attributes and seemingly supernatural powers of recovery. Whom does he trust? Is he saving humanity or dooming it? And even if Horkai is still human, is humanity worth saving?
     I finished Immobility a week ago, and its ending haunts me still. Highly recommended.

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