One of the things I love about the internet is the scope for bringing people together to work on projects. This is a story that, for Tom and I, began over at www.copperage.deviantart.com with an approach from a young writer looking for book cover art. As Tom is usually busy, he tends to say yes to projects that he finds inherently interesting and worthwhile, and having looked at some of the text from the book, he took on Little Glass Men.
Author Connor Walsh had clearly done his research, (this is going to be a recurring theme!) because he wanted a gloomy, mournful sort of cover. This is something Tom Brown is especially good at.
The book itself is about veterans from the First World War, in a hospital in Louisiana, circa 1921. The setting immediately got my attention – having researched and written my own WW1 novel some years ago (not currently available) one of the things I noticed is that we only really talk about the war years, and not what happened afterwards to the many injured survivors. The aftermath of war is something we need to talk about, and Connor wades into the physical and psychological horrors faced by the survivors. He does this adeptly, not bogging the reader down in unbearable suffering, but certainly getting across the long term costs of this conflict.
You get quite a long way through this book before it starts to become apparent that it is not just a tale about the characters’ pasts. As we delve into the histories of the inmates, a shadowy plot has been forming, and this gradually develops as the narrative unfolds.
I found this to be both a strange and a captivating read. Some of the characters are quite unhinged, and when we look at reality over their shoulders, it’s never entirely certain how things really are. Perhaps the idea of how things ‘really are’ isn’t even relevant when dealing with the kind of breakdown of civilization and humanity this war represented.
This is an author who knows his stuff, and who has given a great deal of thought to the period, and its many issues and how those issues might interconnect within a single story. At the same time it does not read like a history lesson. If you are happy to read darker tales then do check it out.
More about the book here – https://www.amazon.com/Little-Glass-Men-Conor-Walsh/dp/0692456279