A jump down a rabbit hole story that will leave you questioning reality, The Castle by Omid Olfet is a story about a young boy who has cancer several times in his youth and must undergo surgery to remove tumors from his brain. However the dreams he appears to have while under anesthesia seem to coincide with reality or is reality coinciding with his dreams. What is real and what is not? This book will leave you questioning what you are reading and how it all ties together in the story.
I do like the mystery involved in the book and the efforts at making this seem like An Alice in Wonderland meets The Phantom Tollbooth approach. The fantasy and imagery in the book is amazing and plays with the reader’s imaginations and interpretations of the story. The main character is easy to identify with as he appeals to the reader’s empathy for a young boy with cancer but also because he is adventurous and pushes the limits of the visons or reality he has. Because of the main character’s likability and ties to a close knit family it is also easy to identify with his other family members, especially the special bond he and his grandpa share.
There are some inconsistencies in the story that make it a little hard to follow. At one point the book mentions it is 1900 and somewhat has that feel in the writing, yet the world it is set in is anything but 1900. There’s some unanswered questions and the reader will wonder how or at times even if what happened has played a significant role in the story and what the meaning of the imagery is. It can turn into quite an intellectual read with the imagery. The story is also a little rough in the way it is presented. The author writes in a way that somewhat talks to the audience, but it just seems to come off a little odd in places.
Overall I did enjoy the spirit of the story and the plot following the young boy through his cancer scares. The end of the story was mysterious and played into the whole twilight zone feel of the book which was great. Anyone who enjoys an intellectual fantasy story will enjoy this short novella.