The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins

Before you pick it up, Scott Hawkins’ debut novel, The Library at Mount Char, looks like your average f sci-fi fantasy genre novel. It’s a few hundred pages long and it includes mystical power, is what I’m saying.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, well, you’ll find it. But it’s so much more.

Carolyn is one of twelve adopted disciples of Father, an incredibly powerful sort of magician (but don’t be ridiculous, there’s no such thing as magic). Only Father has gone missing, and there’s some sort of mystical barrier (it’s not magic, be reasonable) keeping all the disciples out of his library, which is where they most want to look for clues about Father’s disappearance.

Father has many enemies. Including his disciples. Possibly.

Hawkins brings in hints of Borges with the near-infinite fractal possibilities of his universe, but the scope of the novel is profoundly human in its search for love and humanity. It’s also leavened with humor, including one chapter titled “Buddhism for Assholes.” That doesn’t stop it from being  a total mindfuck, but in a really soulful way.

The Library at Mount Char comes out in paperback this March.

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