In the novel there are two boys, Norris and Tom. They both represents two way to be “invisible” in their society: Norris is the fourth son of a middle class family which barely managed to raise and find an accommodation for the previous three, and now practically nothing remains for Norris. It’s not that his family doesn’t love him, on the contrary, I very much liked Norris’ mother, I think she was a very practical woman who tried to do her best for all her sons with the few she had. Unfortunately Norris is born in the wrong position, and maybe at the wrong moment: he is barely fifteen, in other circumstances he should be almost ready to enter the world as an independent man, going to college or finding a good job, and instead he is behind his own age, for study and experience. Norris has a very clever mind, and even without a formal knowledge, he notices that he is not at the same level of the other boys and he suffers for that. Norris is invisible; he is a shadow, not for his fault or choice, but for a play of destiny.
The other boy in the novel is Tom; he is not centre stage like Norris, but we can gather something about him. Two years older than Norris, they went to the same primary school. Tom was a very promising young man, with the right skills to go on in the world and a supporting family that was able to support him on that path. But then Tom disappeared; like Norris he became invisible, but in his case it was for something he did. Tom was not “normal”, he likes boys, and his family disowned him.
Both Norris and Tom, for different reasons, are Shadow People. This is the fantasy element the author chose to use, but as I said, it’s basically a way to highlight that there are people in this world that are “uncommon”, special, and they are a breed apart. They can mingle and live among the others, but they are not like others. They have special sensibility, different skills. They are apparently fragile, but then of they discover the strength inside themselves they can survive to anything; some of them unfortunately don’t manage to, and what is a metaphorical disappearance can become something very much true.
The love story between Tom and Norris is barely hinted, but nevertheless is very sweet and romantic. A kiss, some afterthoughts, and a lot of promises for a future together: this is how love between teenagers should be.
The novel is also a very detailed insight of a middle class family of the nineteen century. The housekeeping economic which is domain of the woman, the struggle to maintain an appearance outside, while you are forced to barely having bread on the table, even the little personal stories of the tenants, what it is said and what it’s not, how they end to live renting a room. This is a picture of a layers of society that seldom is shown to use: they are not the rich, but they are not even the poor… they are in the middle, an in a way, not being on the edge of those two previous categories, they are even more invisible, since no one notice them.
Amazon: The Twilight Gods
The Rainbow Awards: Third (and last!) Phase: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/85035
Cover Art by Rose Lenoir