Review of The Nameless

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Brendan Donaghy
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Review of The Nameless

Post by Brendan Donaghy »

[Following is an official review of "The Nameless" by Chad Mooney.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Chad Mooney’s The Nameless is a collection of four short stories. It is prefaced by a passage from the work of Edgar Allan Poe stating that “Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform.” That sets the tone for this collection. Poe’s writing was noted for its mystery, love of the macabre, and interest in cosmology. There is some of all that in this collection. All the stories are told in the first person from the point of view of a male narrator.

The title of the first story, ‘Object Permanence,’ is borrowed from developmental psychology and refers to the understanding that things continue to exist even when they are hidden from sight. The story is about ten pages long and involves a man’s obsession with his young, female neighbor. The second story in the collection is, at just short of fifty pages, by far the longest. The title, ‘Somewhere Between Screaming and Crying,’ is taken from an American heavy metal band’s song lyric. The story tells the tale of a young man who is released from the hospital after a viral attack that has robbed him of his memory. Unable to recognize his wife, his home, or his friends, he has to begin the process of putting together his life and his sense of who he is. ‘The Thirteenth Step,’ is roughly seventeen pages long. The title is a reference to the twelve-step model of addiction recovery. The narrator attends addiction recovery meetings to pick up vulnerable young women for sex. The final story, ‘Mors Indecepta,’ is the shortest in the collection, running to about five pages. The Latin title translates as ‘death is undeceivable’, and the story is a reworking of an old tale.

This is a well-written, consistent collection of stories. The author tells his tales with great skill, keeping the reader engaged and wanting to know the outcome right to the end of each one. The mystery and suspense elements of the stories were what I enjoyed most about the collection. In the process of writing, the author also explores some important themes. He examines the value of morality in a universe that seems indifferent to our fate. He poses the question of whether it is a useless social construct in a world in which there is no objective right or wrong. Readers who enjoy mulling over these kinds of metaphysical ideas will find plenty to get their teeth into here.

While I appreciated the author’s skill and enjoyed his stories up to a point, I did not warm to the book overall. What permeates through all the stories is a predatory, threatening tone that female readers, in particular, may find troubling. The picture of the world that the writer paints is one in which there is little humanity and where the male narrators have few, if any, redeeming qualities. There is a whiff of nihilism coming off the book that left this reader, at least, feeling slightly flat after reading. Other people may have a different response. If you enjoy the kind of escapism that dark tales like this offer, then this book is a good example of the genre.

The book has been professionally edited, but there are still a few errors remaining. For that reason, I have to deduct one star and can award this work three out of four stars only. The book’s themes and discussions around sex make it an adult-only read, although there is nothing too explicit here. I recommend it to readers who enjoy tales of mystery with a few dark themes thrown in.

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Urvashi Tripathi
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Post by Urvashi Tripathi »

This book sounds quite different, all 4 short stories as you explained is interesting and would be worth giving time. I like dark themes novels, so maybe this would turn out to be an good read for me. Thank you for beautiful review.
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Kavita Shah
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Post by Kavita Shah »

Short stories with dark themes sounds interesting. I don't understand what exactly is the threatening tone but would like to check it out for myself. Thank you for an insightful review!
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Post by The frant1c reader »

I really appreciate how you used quotes from Edgar Allan Poe to describe the theme and setting of the book! Very well written review and an equally interesting book! :D
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Post by Reader Chavez »

Thank you for this review! I'm a fan of books with dark themes so I'm definitely reading this one!
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Post by Asmaa Saber »

I love short stories, they give opportunity to read about more than one issue, thanks for your helpful review :)
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Post by Novela book »

I appreciate such an amazing collection of short stories. I was really fascinated from reading about the description of the stories. Can't wait to read them. Great review.
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Post by Chukwuebuka Ifedigbo »

Dark themes always fascinate me, so I'm reading this book. Thanks for this great review!
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Post by marta baglioni »

I think I would like in particular "Mors Indecepta": a very captivating title. Thank you for the review!
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Post by NetMassimo »

This collections seems intriguing, though I probably need to be in the right mood to go into the dark side of humanity. Thank you for your great review!
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Post by Lauren Hanna »

I like that there are four short stories within this book. However, I’m not sure that I want to read dark stories. Thank you for your honest and engaging review.
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Post by Thabo Sibanda 1 »

I like the fact that the book is fascinating and thought provoking. To add more icing to the cake, it is a collection of short stories which will propel any interested reader on a joyride. Thank you for an honest review.
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Post by k_madhu_jha »

Heartbreaking cover and a very well detailed review. They got me well to encourage me to read this book in the coming future. Thank you.
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