Wondrous to behold: My review of The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson

Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (September 13, 2011)

Ridler is an artist destined to rise in prominence in the art world, but his self-centered quest to create art leaves broken hearts and bruised egos in his wake. When a hit-and-run driver sends Ridler over the edge of a bridge into Harlem River, he miraculously awakens on it's banks having had an encounter with Glory. He is desperate to paint what he saw, but the image is lost from his mind before he is able to do so. What follows is a journey to exotic locale to attempt to again find the Glory, from releasing doves at a Buddhist temple in Thailand to seeking the divine in Rome. When his journey brings him back to North America, his attempt to reconcile the wrongs in his past prompts a search for Ridler, previously presumed dead, both by a daughter he never knew, and a man bent on murder.

Athol Dickson has written a powerful, engaging story that will long stay on my mind. It is the type of story where I came to the end of the book and simply had to sit and process the emotions the novel had stirred.
Reading The Opposite of Art was like listening to a complex piece of music or being held captive by a painting. Dickson is truly an expert with the pen, and the result is scenes full of vivid detail and characters that are mesmerizing, unique, larger than life. The whole host of characters introduced, from Ridler himself to his love, Suzanne, to the strange and wonderful circus folk, are all absolutely fascinating in their differences and their similarities, fellow pilgrims on the journey of life. I should caution that some readers may find the book to have a slower pace because of the detail included, but I personally felt that the story held my interest from start to finish.

The novel is so much more than suspense, so much more than a simple search for truth, so much more than broken families being made whole. Dickson has courageously explored the meaning of life through Ridler's desperate search, and brilliantly illuminates the power of Jesus against the back drop of the emptiness of other religions, and the emptiness of ourselves. When Ridler comes to the end of himself and finally finds Glory, it is wonderous to behold.

Readers who enjoyed Dickson's previous works will greatly enjoy this latest offering. I strongly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, for the purposes of this unbiased review. Available for purchase wherever good books are sold.