GoneAway into the Land by Jeffrey B. Allen is an interesting juxtaposition between a child’s harsh, abusive reality and a Land of fantasy and tasty confection. It is well-written, engaging, and fascinating, creating a vibrant world that draws in the reader.
The plotline of GoneAway into the Land is innovative, and delicious. The story begins with the sad home life of young John Greber, who tragically has an angry, abusive father; he, his younger sister, Marny and his mother Ellie all live an unhappy existence. The forlorn home life explodes in a violent confrontation that results in John’s father, whom he calls The Beast, kidnapping Marny; this horror catapults John and his mother into a strange odyssey, as they search for the little girl. With the help of the mysterious Driver they venture into the Land, a curious place of sugary bonbons and inspiration intricately connected with our World. This extraordinary place is now in serious danger of destruction by the evil machinations of Mengus, one of the Ministers of the Land, and the rampages of The Beast. Denizens of both worlds are bound together in their attempts to save their respective worlds and one small girl.
Mengus returned to the outer balcony.
“The Beast,” he whispered. “My Beast. Perfectly suited. Perfectly chosen. A plan of perfection. It will do as I tell it. This muscular monster. It will do exactly as expected.”
GoneAway into the Land is a remarkable novel, and I was most impressed with its characterization. The portrayals in this novel are not larger than life heroic depictions; they are solid, relatable, fully complete people, be they born of the real world or the realm of fantasy. The wondrous characters that abound in this novel are diverse, some malicious, some decent, some in-between. They will earn your loyalty and your affection or your dislike and disdain.
“That’s when he saw her. Her eyes were his eyes. Her smile was his smile. Her worried expression was a window into the depths of his insecurities. He stepped closer. A feeling of euphoria swept over him so powerful that he could scarcely maintain his composure. Sara felt it as well: a profound sense that they were bound together somehow.”
There is a faint dream-like quality to this book, a metaphoric attribute as it deals with themes of friendship, loss, violence, courage, greed, innocence, selfishness, and love. It is an adventure, an allegory, a bittersweet fantasy filled with subtle meaning and depth that never loses its appeal. GoneAway into the Land is a captivating book with a creative narrative that quietly lures a reader into an original world that is fully realised and thoroughly absorbing. It transcends into a superb piece of fiction, and I recommend it highly.
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Jeffrey B. Allen was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1953, and today lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Allen graduated from Millersville State University in architectural design and taught for two years while also working toward his Masters degree at Temple University in Philadelphia. After a brief teaching career, Allen created his own architectural woodworking firm in 1980.
Today, Jeffrey B. Allen lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His Architectural Design business has been sold, and although he maintains a hand in the processes of the business, he is now devoting the bulk of his time to writing.