Talking Location With – Kinley Bryan: The Great Lakes
Book set in the USA (Western States in the company of Sprite)
16th October 2013
The Drive by Tyler Keevil, book set in the USA (Western States)
The Drive by Tyler Keevil is a book set in the USA with amazing flow and great structure. It is fresh, entertaining and deep all at the same time. Every bend in the book brings a surprise, and every character has an irreplaceable place in it; everything works like clockwork under Keevil’s pen, and his attention to detail is unbelievable.
Regarding the setting of the book, a road novel such as this would not have worked anywhere else but where it was set: it takes the reader into a Wonderlandish environment within the forests, beaches, deserts, and even ghostlike towns of the Western territories of North America; the atmosphere of that land brings to mind gold rushes, westerns, superheroes, junkies, starlets, glamour, illicit activities and lots and lots of artists of any category imagined, so it gets the juices of the story flowing! That’s the go-to place for people who are looking to free themselves (California is, anyhow), and be that as it may a cliché, it worked fantastically well in the story, considering the fact that Trevor’s main goal for the road trip was to “get his mojo back”.
Even though I personally believe that drugs and alcohol were overused in the book (and there were times when I thought that Trevor would wind up overdosed in some random hospital in Oregon or Seattle before finding his way back to Vancouver), there is also the sense that the whole hallucinatory quality of the story could not have worked without the device of drugs and alcohol. And at the same time, as we turn page after page, we know that under the influence or not, what Trevor is going through is quite real, and that makes us feel empathy for him.
And then, because it is me writing this review and we have already established that I am a cat-lover thru and thru, I have to say kudos to Tyler Keevil for bringing such a perfect character in Cat to life! Cat, or later Sprite, is just full of personality and cat-charisma, which of course means that she is able to make Trevor think about his choices (not that he listens to her very often) and the reader want to adopt her and cure her of her sicknesses too (unless you’re not a cat-lover, in which case you will probably just laugh at Trevor’s conversations with her but wish that he’d just leave her back in the desert where he found her… or if you’re not so heartless, find her a home with one of the many quirky characters that he meets on his way). Oh, but there is a little bit for dog lovers, too, as Belle enters the picture, with her grace, serenity and warmth, and shows Trevor how a friendship can save a life.
Back to the setting of the book: it gets divided into three sections:
1) The forests of British Columbia and Washington, where as I read I hear Celtic music and expect to see fairies among the trees and maybe a troll or two;
2) The creepy towns and forests of Oregon, where the nightmare intensifies as eccentric people get to Trevor, and the trees give in to desert and there is more and more rushing in and out of situations as he gets to Nevada… Here it’s easy to imagine the great shamans of old and Europeans chasing after lands and placing their banners here and there, or even Zorro coming in to save the day slightly out of his usual route; and
3) California, the land of dreams and freedom, where you can be an artist and the world will smile at you… Here San Francisco was portrayed just as easy-going as I have always imagined it, and I must say that it strengthened my desire to visit there, and why not even take a road trip through California, too?
So, in short, this book was phenomenal, Keevil’s inventiveness really made everything come to life, and the setting was impeccable. Enjoy!!
Sandra for the TripFiction Team