Trial Fallen Angels James Kimmel
I didn't really know what to expect from this novel - from the premise it sounded like a mixture of fantasy and mystery. And even now, after finishing it, categorizing it into a genre still proves rather difficult. Kimmel explores a lot of big themes here in his fictional debut - justice, forgiveness, truth, good, evil and the interconnected nature of humanity. The book deals with religion, too, but in a vague and rather non-specific Christian way (though Judaism and Islamic faiths also play a part). This rather undefined spiritual aspect seems to be Kimmel's attempts to avoid his fantastical Shemaya from offending any readers and to appeal to as many different religions as possible.
The story itself that these issues are wrapped around is that of thirty-year-old Brek Abigail Cuttler. This young lawyer/wife/mother arrives abruptly at an abandoned train platform and her afterlife unravels from there. Slowly, Brek comes to term with all the histories and lives of others that led not only to her own life, but to her untimely death. Kimmel throws in a lot of connections (but your disbelief should already be suspended from the very premise), leading to many surprises as the complete story unfolds. A surprising amount of World War II history is included throughout the novel, too.
Kimmel's prose describes a vast and ever-shifting setting his Shemaya (there's even a visit to Tara!), along with the intimate details of the lives of many characters. The clear writing prevents confusion and allows readers to be swept along with Brek's journey. It is a tragic story, but beautiful and completely captivating. Kimmel captures Brek's point-of-view very convincingly and manages to evoke plenty of empathy for nearly all of the characters introduced. It is a strange and wonderful novel and one that completely took me by surprise. I certainly hope Kimmel continues on as a writer of fiction - I am very curious to see what he writes next!
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