If you are one of those readers who simply devours fiction – you know the kind of fiction I mean: clichéd romances and thrillers, with stereotypical characters and pedestrian writing – then this book is NOT for you. Another World is Possible is for those who want something different to read, something challenging, something authentic. In short, it is a book for thinkers.
Those words “different”, “challenging” and “authentic” sum up the book. It is constructed like a set of Russian dolls: there are puzzles within riddles within a conundrum. The overarching conundrum is, of course, whether Roisin really is the lovechild of Che Guevara. I’ll say no more about that, except to warn you thinkers that you’ll be kept guessing throughout.
You’ll also constantly ask yourself other questions. Who is narrating the story? How much of what they say is truthful? Where does the reality of the story end and the fiction begin? An awful lot is known publicly about the life and death of Che Guevara. But did he really stop off at Dublin Airport in 1964 and Shannon Airport in 1965? Is it possible that his words and actions during those stops altered so dramatically the course of the lives of characters in the book?
And there are as many, if not more, questions about the author. We know, because Cally Phillips tells us in the introduction to the book, that her lifelong interest in Che is something of an “obsession” (her word). Cally also tells us that the story is “personal” to some extent. But to what extent? The mother/daughter relationship between Mary and Roisin is so finely drawn you just know it must be based on reality. And the squats in London in the Sixties are so accurately described you feel she must have experienced that life as a child. The same goes for the London music scene in the Seventies. Then suddenly you find yourself wondering, even though you know it can’t be possible, whether the author herself is the lovechild of Che Guevara.
See what I mean? Questions upon questions; riddles everywhere. It’s a challenging book, to say the least. Not only is it cleverly conceived and constructed, it is also written in clear, unadorned prose. A must for thinking readers everywhere.
This review was originally posted as part of the Reading Between the Lines Collective on Brendan’s own site but I thought it appropriate to include here on my birthday since fact and fiction in identity are key feeatures of the story and of my life.
If you want to join in my 50th birthday celebrations, he best present you could give me would be to buy one of my books – failing that hop over to my site HERE and join in the 50 days of celebration currently underway.