by Greg Gifune
Pub. Date: October 21, 2010
Greg Gifune does not write for those who find psychological darkness an uncomfortable territory. Gardens of Night is a disturbing journey between reality and psychotic breaks, both of which become blurred the further you read.
It is a story about a man named Marcus who is struggling to come to terms with a trauma he and his wife have suffered. One of the things that keeps the reader riveted until the end is that Gifune only gives us bit and pieces at a time about what exactly happened to Marcus. This not only keeps one wanting to know what happened, but also causes the reader to constantly question what exactly is happening is the mind of the character.
The story is also part mythology and mysticism as reality and fantasy quickly become the same thing is Marcus’s mind. It is, at times, maybe confusing to one reading Gardens of Night to differentiate what is really happening, as the symbolism of his visions is quite strong and intriguing. However, this only adds to the intensity of feeling the character must be going through, and allows one a glimpse into the mind of madness, perhaps.
As the story unfolds and one is given more pieces of the maddening puzzle, it is clear why Marcus is so disturbed. What is unclear is exactly which world is his version of reality. As he makes his journey through the labyrinth of his mind, he must decide what the visions and characters along the way all mean, as well as which world is the world in which he wishes to stay, or if he even has a choice.
Gardens of Night is a story about how violence and trauma effects us all differently, and how we all deal differently. Some are able to move on and live somewhat normally, and some of us are pushed to the breaking point. As an old hag along Marcus’s journey aptly tells him, “Violence changes us. It kills things in us, precious things. But sometimes it awakens things too.” Exactly what has been awakened in Marcus is the core of this story.
Marcus has never recovered from the trauma and this story is (maybe) his journey to do so. It may also be his journey into a further psychotic break. Or, it may be his journey in finding out what his place in the world (real or unreal) really is. The multiple perspectives allows the reader to decide for themselves what exactly happened to the characters and what exactly is real. If a quick, dark psychological suspense is what you crave, then this is the book for you.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Greg Gifune, go to his website here.
[This review is also published at LL Book Review]