The One Apart
Weaves a beautiful narrative into a tapestry of fantasy and wonder…
Readers familiar with author Justine Avery will be delighted to discover her latest work has moved beyond the scope of short story into a captivating and intriguing novel. The One Apart explores the concept of reincarnation in truly unique fashion, complete with Avery’s signature bait-and-switch style that keeps readers guessing until the last page. The novel follows Aaron, an infant born with the awareness of not only this life, but all those that he previously lived before. Aaron is born into this world with the memory of his true name, Tres. With this knowledge comes an accelerated understanding and intelligence that makes Aaron a child prodigy, reaching childhood milestones in months instead of years. Maria, Aaron’s grandmother recognizes his gifts and knows the child is destined for great things. Sancha, Aaron’s mother, just wants to protect her child and make sure he doesn’t grow up too fast.
Although this loving home provides comfort and security, Aaron knows there is more to existence than anyone around him can see. Tres is aware. He knows that evil lurks and life as they know it is in grave danger.
As Aaron grows older and navigates life with his family, his awareness expands until he becomes fully aware of an existence beyond the corporeality where he is Sancha’s son. This other-worldly dimension, he knows as the Apart, is constantly calling to him making it more and more difficult to stay connected emotionally to the world Aaron lives in. In the Apart, he is Tres. As Aaron continues on his journey though life, as Sancha and Maria know it, Tres is also being groomed and guided by the luminary creatures of the Apart toward a profound purpose. What that purpose may be is the missing piece.
Justine Avery has succeeded in expanding her creative short-story style into a rich novel without the final result feeling padded or forced. The One Apart is a complete literary work that draws its readers in early and teases them along, delivering just enough to keep them guessing and turning pages. The author’s ability to weave a beautiful narrative into a tapestry of fantasy and wonder is apparent from the opening chapters. A complex story builds steadily around a cast that the author connects and laces together with expert care. Although the story is fantasy on the surface, deep within lies a more dramatic and emotional core, slowly reeling in the reader. Beyond this fantasy lies a deeply spiritual story that is as beautiful as it is sorrowful.
The most compelling aspect of The One Apart is it’s uncanny potential to creep into the cracks of your psyche and plant the seed of hope without the reader ever being aware. Not until after I completed the novel and moved on to my next read was I completely cognizant of its affect on my pondering about, and subsequent questioning of, my own belief structure. So much in fact that I felt it necessary to add this personal experience to the review after its original completion.
The only critique I will offer is the dynamic perspective changes and how they relate to the pace. Often added deliberately to help differentiate between Aaron’s corporeality and Tres’ awareness of the Apart, the shift between the two created a break in the pace that felt clumsy at first. Once recognized and accepted however, the shift between the two perspectives became less cumbersome. Some minor editing or reevaluating its impact on the story may have improved how this aspect was introduced. I related this to watching a subtitled film; requiring more attention in the beginning but blending into the complete experience by the end and ultimately adding to the work’s overall charm.
The One Apart is an emotionally charged and fantastical journey that takes its readers by the hand and transports them to a melancholy place where the tragic beauty of sadness gives way to the wonder of being connected. The narrative pulls them ever deeper into a tale that will leave them both hopeful and contemplative. Another masterful story from contemporary author Justine Avery.