Pynter Bender.

That is the name of the boy whose life I have just been reading about. He may not be real, but as I heard recently:

“Everything we say is true. Just not all of it happens” – The Liars, Orpheus and Eurydice as performed by the National Youth Theatre.

The book is by Jacob Ross, an inspirational writer who I have had the pleasure of meeting – his site can be found here. I am writing this immediately after finishing the book, so please excuse any slips of grammar or style as it is gone 1am.

As a writer, it was beautiful to read. The language is very subtle at times, blending multiple meanings in a very few, choice words. This density reminded me of the Great Gatsby, in the bursts of colour and the vivacity of the tale being told. In a sense, it could be considered poetry as it is arguably a collection of ‘the best words in the best order’. And the language! Mr Ross blends in the Caribbean dialect spoken by the characters seamlessly, despite my unfamiliarity with that way of speaking.

As a reader, it is a brilliantly well-woven story that you want to see through to the end. The characters are so much more real from the way they act on emotion, not reason. Even the people who appear less often cannot simply be called ‘supporting characters’ – they each have their own stories, even if you don’t hear all of it. From Santay and her knowledge of the Old Ways to Windy and her struggle to deal with her love for Pynter, everyone is presented as whole and gloriously irrational, as people should be.

As a human, it is touching in a way that made me put the book down for a few days before going back to it. The stories told are very raw and touch you in a way that isn’t noticeable at first. My break from the story was not a conscious decision, rather it was almost as a result of how much the lives of these characters fill you up as you read. And the ending (don’t worry, no spoilers here!) gives you such a sense of satisfaction as you close the book on its final page… without feeling a need to necessarily tie together loose ends. The people just are, and they still have lives to live, and that is the way you want things to be.

Now, I don’t usually write reviews. I’m not even sure if this classes as a review, or rather an overspill of feeling after being filled up by Jacob Ross’ words. But I do know that, for me, this book is different. It reached out and grabbed me around the heart – not with thunder, but with a whisper and a nod of the head. It talks with its silences as well as its words. And it left me with something, a feeling that I’ve learnt something I can’t quite explain.

If you can do that, you’re much more than a writer. Jacob Ross is a man who can speak to the soul.


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'Quintconsequential' is a word of my own invention, despite the definition in the style of the Oxford English Dictionary featured on the site. By all means, use it, whisper it, shout it from the rooftops. But please, remember that you heard it here first!
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