This is a book that I am struggling to classify, but which is extremely good. It is set on Death Row and the narrator is a prisoner who is nameless and whose crime we don’t know. What we do know is that every man on Death Row committed the worst of crimes. There is violence and death, but it is implied – it is left to our imagination which makes it even worse.
The narrator tell us of other characters – but not their names; the Warden, the Fallen Priest and the Lady, a death penalty investigator whose job it is to discover grounds for appeal against the death sentences given to her clients – the occupation of the author herself. Prisoners are named.
The narrator – who as a character does not speak – escapes into the books that he reads; he takes us – and here the writing becomes poetic and beautiful – on a journey where the walls are full of tiny men with hammers and golden horses. It’s almost a fairytale, but it is wrapped in horror and abuse. Nevertheless, there is also kindness and compassion. And there is a love story.
At the end, you’re left thinking about the death penalty, about monsters, about salvation. It’s thought provoking and – enchanting.