BookLife Fiction Prize 2019 Semifinalist Judge on Simon's Mansion, "What sets this book apart is its raw originality."

BookLife Prize 2019

Semi Finalist
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10
Assessment:
Plot: Though Poe offers a thoroughly compelling and propulsive plot, the author displays a somewhat impatient tendency to skim-over potentially rich scenes in favor of more slow-going descriptions and allusions. The novel's unexpected developments and narrative breadth, however, allow this work to resonate. 
Prose: While at times Poe's abstractions can unnecessarily obfuscate the circumstances, the author delivers a finely tuned narrative with literary prose that is smooth, rich, and rhythmic in cadence. 
Originality: What sets this book apart is its raw originality. Simon’s Mansion sensitively and realistically captures the struggles of a young man seeking truth and acceptance following a period of intense struggle. That the author draws from personal experience to craft this story, provides a meaningful level of verisimilitude.
Character Development: Simon is an immediately compelling character, whose turbulent past and internal conflicts enrich and inform his identity; Simon's relationship with his partner is equally nuanced. As the layers slip away from the other, initially obscure and less sympathetic characters, their own complexities and fluctuating rationalizations are revealed. 
Date Submitted: August 23, 2019

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OnlineBookClub Review. "Simon’s Mansion by William Poe is a stunning portrayal of the life of a gay man raised in the conservative rural town of Sibley, Arkansas." ~Miriam Molina