Book Chat: The GAIAD

On the brink of The Almagre Review’s publication of Issue 3 Environment, this is a perfect time to reflect on our Issue 2 contributor, Will Burcher, and his recent book, The GAIAD.

Mr. Burcher’s novel surprises! It also makes big promises. The author possesses an intelligent, cunning, almost slickly in-between, ability for prose and idea. The idea—well, it is large. How large? Immense. And the prose—it combines grit and realism with an unapologetic use of literary language. I confess to learning new words in this book (for me, a pleasure).

The protagonist, Fleur Romano, a competent twenty-something-year-old Denver cop, is in obvious need of a big adventure. Don’t we all? Something of a loner, she manages to get to a concert, sans friend or partner or date. This is where it begins. The adventure! And the author kickstarts it with a mysterioso of haze, trance music, performance art, and a shock-pool of blood.

We’re soon thrusted into a pan-historical epic that is an international-action-thriller/illuminati-esque/spiritually-ecstatic tale delivered in Mr. Burcher’s competent handling of prose. For instance, when the heroine, Fleur, is shown a video by her abductors, the reader is made to feel as if the video is actually being watched. Not an easy task.

As the narrative peels into the driving premise of the novel, the story surges through time, back into the deep past where humanity is shattered. What kind of story takes 30,000 years to tell? Why do stone-age animal hunts and cave paintings figure into the book? How does this necessitate the appearance of elegantly thin spaceships calibrated to a cosmic music? Did I mention that Mr. Burcher makes big promises? The answer lies hidden in the title.

The GAIAD, the first installment in the Logos series, lives up to that promise. Perhaps as interesting a question as this grand adventure is, is whether the author can deliver the goods in the following books. This story is a joy to discover, and I fell completely in line with Mr. Burcher’s narrative voice. We luxuriate in the sensuousness of the language—in many ways, this is a story of the flesh. Not vulgarly. But the grand secret that drives it all, begs the author and the audience to experience this tale as one expressed deeply inside the skin.

There are many things the author has done well in his telling. The close proximity of high and low, grit and eloquence, provide a constant strength to the text. This is Mr. Burcher’s debut novel, and as a Coloradoan, we are lucky to have him. I feel optimistic that the following books will carry this epic tale to its right and thrilling conclusion.

For those interested, please support local art, local artists, and visit Will Burcher’s site @ https://williamburcher.com/# to find your way to a copy.

John Lewis

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