4 out of 4 stars
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McDowell by William Coles
Coles' main character Hiram McDowell is one of the most profoundly developed characters I have encountered in years. A beautiful story that you cannot help but hate at the beginning. It is a story of a world class surgeon, father, womanizer, philanthropist, mountain climber and the perfect example of how complicated the human mind can be.
Part one of the book will have you hating the guts of Hiram and the author, I honestly did. He is presented as he is, a callous, uncaring except towards his kids occasionally,manipulative, narcissistic and sexist man who only looks out for himself and treats women like sex toys. Through the characters, mainly Hiram, the author presents the themes of misogyny through the hyper focus on women's body sizes and appearances, sexism, societal violence, parental neglect, betrayal, revenge and many others. One of the ways that he uses Hiram to bring certain themes across in the mention of when Hiram left his hiking partner Wolff on a mountain to die, this also will come across as cruelty when read by many viewers and also the little thoughts that he has while speaking to some of the women in his life.
Part two, however, gives a totally different spin on the idea of who McDowell is. It gives insight into his actions and the way he looks at the world. it shows us the readers the aim of the author as Charles in the book said, "Make him human. We can't characterize him as a monster. We have to present the truth of everything he has done, then let them find the monster or the saint." And this is exactly whats Coles has done with Hiram when presenting him to us.
The setting of the book was in multiple states of the US due to the travels of Hiram especially in part two, and Kathmandu, Nepal. The setting of the book worked well with the strong dramatic plot that was fast paced but smooth, keeping the reader intrigued and guessing at what may happen next until the very last page of the book. You literally feel as if you had no idea what he will throw at you next, something i particularly liked about it and due to this and the fact that there were few errors in the book, i rate it 4 out of 4 stars which i believe it earned.
The way that Coles showed the direct and indirect effect that Hiram had on all the characters in the book up until his death was something that i liked due to the realism of the idea. I loved that Cole showed the growth and development of Hiram's children once they were able to let go and come out from his shadow. This is especially so for Billie and Sophie.
I recommend this book to those who are looking for something that will intrigue you from beginning to end, i can guarantee that thus book will not disappoint. I recommend it for readers who like to delve into the mysteries of the mind and are willing to deal with the harsh realities represented within which are sadly still a part of our reality.
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