100-Character Breakdown: A literary treat with intricate prose, lyrical storytelling, and uninhibited imagination.
Genre: Literary fiction, fantasy
Publisher: Starcherone Books (Oct. 2014)
With the appearance of talking rabbits and dropping bombs on the first page, Little is Left to Tell welcomes readers into a bewildering world of imaginative and lyrical storytelling. Steven Hendricks’ debut novel dives deep into the mind of Mr. Fin, a man with dementia, who deals with the memory of his son David by hiding in the world of the stories he told his child. His mind flows from his days to the dreams of his stories in an instant, bringing to life the nearly human animals in their now-toxic world. Corrupted by dementia and the loss of David, Mr. Fin’s stories lose their original optimism and happy endings. With David gone, the stories transform into haunting tales where elephant-like creatures called zeppelins drop bombs, devour towns and lives, and leave survivors deformed.
Hendricks has an incredible ability to use simple language to achieve an emotional punch. In numerous instances, Mr. Fin’s dementia forges a rift in his relationship with his neighbor Viv.
“‘How did you get in here?” He spat. But he wasn’t really seeing her yet. All he saw was the blur of someone striding into the room, a foul bear, bending around him, spying. He spat, ‘What do you want?’ As he looked, the blur gathered into a real person, a woman he knew, a woman he liked. He pinched his eyes. No bears, no beasts.”
Mr. Fin’s dementia becomes clearer to the reader as he falls deeper and deeper into his stories, letting them envelop him mentally and emotionally. The enthralling stories bring characters inspired by literature, like Virginia the Wolf and the rabbit Hart Crane. Hendricks takes a risk by sprinkling the novel with literary references ranging from the works of Homer to Hemingway, but he succeeds by inspiring the readers that know these pieces without alienating those who do not. As readers find themselves engrossed in the stories of rabbits and humans alike, this rich piece of literary fiction will remind them of the power of uninhibited imagination.