Book Review : Trick of the Eye by Dennis Haseley
Richard is comforted when he looks into the pastoral painting which hangs in the dining room, in fact, it is the only painting in his entire house. One day, he realizes he has slipped into the painting and can talk to the painted figures.
Richard seems to have very few memories from the last nine years of his life. As Richard talks to the characters in the painting, he discovers that something has frightened the horse and he feels he might like to stay in the painting rather than continue in his own life. However, Martin, a character from the painting, suggests there is something that Richard has forgotten from his past. Richard is directed that there were other painting that he had talked to when he was small and they might be able to help him remember the important thing that he has forgotten. Does Richard have the courage that will be required?
Adult Point of View
I was perusing the YA shelves in the library looking for anything that looked new and unique. I love art and thought it might be fun to feel what it is like to communicate with paintings, hence, leading me to pick up Trick of the Eye.
I was immediately intrigued with Trick of the Eye because I could not immediately determine where the author was leading me. I was also puzzled by Richard, the voice in the story, who had a skewed perception of reality. Even after reading the entire novel the question remains, did Richard really talk to the paintings or were the experiences bubbling up from his subconscious? It could easily be argued that he is projecting his own thoughts and feelings onto the characters in the paintings.
The conversations are simplistic and etherial, almost stream of conscious in style. I found Trick of the Eye to be haunting and completely original. Haseley was masterful in his writing craft.
As an example to demonstrate the simple sentence structure full of impact,
I do remember an angel, he said, holding a mirror. I remember I used to talk to him. When I was little.
You used to, when you were very little, said Martin.
Can I find him again? asked the boy.
Yes, said Martin.
If you want to, said Erin.
The horse looked more frightened than ever. It’ll be okay, the boy said to the horse.
Perhaps if I find the others, and find what scares you so. p. 25
Even though Richard knows something in the past has frightened the horse and the others he chooses to walk the path of courage to discover the past with the hope of making it right. Richard’s mother writes an etiquette column, consequently she has drilled into him the importance of rules and proper behavior. He is required to stretch beyond the world that has been imposed upon him by his mother, which also requires courage from Richard. This young boy has been plagued with half remembered details of sailing on a boat with his mother and father. His mother survived the wreckage of the ship and has dedicated her life to her son. The images of the water are usually recreated through fabric, which later gives greater insight into the forgotten incident in Richard’s life.
I’m trying not to spoil the mystery at the end for you. I will say it was not what I was expecting. As I reached the last quarter of the book the tension continued to increase making me feel nervous as to how the mystery would be solved. Due to the nature of the mystery and the complicated innuendo within the simple sentences, you might want to consider this novel for YA over the age of 15.
4 out of 5 stars
– the Mother
The teen has chosen not to read this novel saying, she is not interested in mysteries. Rather a simplification of the intent of the novel.