Brian Evenson’s THE WARREN was one story I have been waiting to get into for a long time. After reading it, I’m left with so many more questions, than how it began and for its brevity, I wish there was just a little bit more. Evenson does not seem hung up on giving the reader what they need, but more relies on giving them just enough.
The reader follows a person named X. He doesn’t have a name, nor does he have any memories of himself. He does have a multitude of personalities and memories bound within him, that are not him. Yet, he might not be as human as he hopes. When he ventures out from the place that he calls “the warren” he finds another person there, who speaks blasphemy, but X begins asking questions that might doom or liberate him.
Before going any further, this is not a book that contains a tradition plot nor does it contain a plot to speak of, unless I’m just too dense to notice. If anything this book is best seen as an in-depth study of a person attempting to understand themselves and the world surrounding them. Given, this world is a lot more horrifying in some aspects and the fact that the outside world can kill them, I’m not jealous of X’s situation.
Evenson’s prose is extremely sparse, but you can tell, if you read closely enough, that he chooses his words meticulously well. All of this to create a certain feel and tone for each scene. This is what makes his stories stand out and I can see why friends were telling me to read him in the first place.
THE WARREN with its various twists and turns and almost non-existent plot may both lure and repel readers, but it is a nice introduction to the engimatic style that Evenson cultivates.