“The Prodigal” by Alexander J. Allison
Alexander Allison shows up in all the right places. Timing appears to be a certain knack of Alexander’s. Maybe it is an English thing the dedication to punctuality. I’m not sure. 2011 changed a lot in Mr. Allison’s life. Whatever ball started rolling regarding writing, editing, submitting poetry in 2010 gained traction this year.
For in 2011 everything changed for Mr. Allison. The Lemon Press continued to be diligently edited by him but new things appeared over the horizon. Suddenly he began to show up in more and more reputable online literary magazines. Or however repute is calculated online. All of these submissions were leading up to something truly amazing. I read this amazing thing.
“The Prodigal” is Alexander Allison’s amazing thing. When I read it I felt strange. Martin (the main character) grew on me. Each character in the story got fleshed out. Instead of it being merely a story, I felt I was spying. Perhaps that was the omniscient narrator. You get to know everything. Honestly you end up knowing more about Martin than you’d really care to at times. The extremely voyeuristic nature appealed to me. Authors tend to edit out the more extreme details about a character leaving only the basic parts of the story. Extreme details are all over “The Prodigal”. You use these tidbits to form the portrait of Martin the main character.
It is a full book. There are no gimmicks. Rather he manages to bring together multiple addictions and compulsions into a single character. Compulsive behaviors do not necessarily mean the person is ill. Usually it means there is a certain vacuum, emptiness within that person. Alexander leaks details throughout the book through Martin’s thoughts slowly describing what lead to this eventual attitude, position, event, etc.
Once it ended I felt a bit sad. This is a dark book. Humor shines through occasionally usually of the dark variety. Alexander makes the dark humor work in conjunction with the story. Every line relates to another line. In a world where I often read random cheap gags in literature and television it is refreshing to see a writer (particularly one so young) creating a story I can care about.
Going through Alexander’s simply named blog “So It Goes” I see he’s been working on this type of writing for a while. Since 2009 he’s been updating his blog on a fairly regular basis. For the more recent posts I see the updates have grown smaller and smaller. Yet that focus away from the blog lead him towards more productive pursuits. Now he has more time to spend on poems and books.
Personally, I have a lot of respect for what Alexander does. I hope he continues to write more books. “The Prodigal” is a strong start for this surprisingly attractive Englishman.