Book Review – To Cross an Ocean: Apognosis

“Answers are sometimes in our grasp, we already know them. We just refuse to accept them…” 

Available via Amazon here, To Cross an Ocean: Apognosis is a poetic, poignant tale of the  very real, human, inner battle that many of us face on a daily basis. Although the novel itself is fictional, the battle that the main character faces, is all too real. The incessant inner battle, the inner turmoil between the struggles of the past, the tribulations of the present and the imagined fears of the future.

The battle between hopes, dreams, love,  the trials of harsh reality and the innate selfish desire for self-preservation. Often, deep down, we know the path we need to take and we know the answers to the questions we ask ourselves… yet whether we have the wisdom and courage to follow our inner convictions is a whole new, difficult question…

Life Is All But An Eternal Present

For Danny, a young American residing in Athens, Greece, life is all but an eternal present. Traumatized by the past and scared of the future, he leads an enigmatic existence sharing a rundown apartment with Yasir and Nazim, two illegal immigrants who try to continue their long journey to Germany.

She Desires More Than Just Friendship

Danny’s best friend is Sophia, a young British-Greek woman that clearly desires more than a friendship. The turning point comes when Danny’s roommates announce they have finally found a trafficker to get them out of Greece. Danny is now forced to acknowledge his past and face his fears, wondering whether it is too little too late.

Frustration, Suspense & Introspection

This thought-provoking adventure is essentially divided up into tantalising snippets, snippets which then continue to develop and evolve into a full-on, suspenseful, twisting tale. Just as the tension begins to heat up and you are eager for more, the chapter ends and the story switches up, at a different pace. In a positively frustrating yet rewarding fashion, we follow the novel’s thought-provoking dialogue like a helpless, yet addicted observer.

We secretly rant over Danny’s inaction and self-deprivation, yet we can’t help but identify with it, even at times admire it on some deeper, more abstract level. Without a doubt, despite the few character strengths Danny does possess, he’s certainly no super achiever, and most of the time, he seems positively lost.

We can’t help but despair at Danny’s lack of direction and incessant inner turmoil, and we never quite know whether he will break out from his spiritual paralysis and achieve some success. In the meantime, we are given gradual snippets of information and clues about the characters and their histories, which helps to both develop the plot and weave the novel into a contemplative, poetic, adventure with a healthy touch of social commentary.

Afraid Of The Future – Haunted By The Past

It is frustrating when things seem to progress for Danny but then, intermittently, like a horrid, inexorable stalker, Danny’s past creeps up on him, causing a frustrating, paralysing dissolution of his progress. We can tell that something is troubling him deeply, yet Danny refuses to open up to anybody about what’s truly disturbing him. His ruthless intuition around self-preservation is ultimately at the root of what damages his relationships with others and it soon becomes clear that Danny is scared of what the future holds. Danny is afraid of loss and abandonment.

Danny is presented with opportunities, he is presented with those who care, yet with the cruel, Greek pathos that only the self-sabotaging, self-pitying human spirit could possibly conjure up, fear holds Danny back. He is afraid to let his defences down, and he is ultimately afraid to love

A Captivating Journey

Like a modern day Othello, the reader is taken on a twisting, captivating journey in the hopes of discovering, can Danny break through his innate self-sabotage? Can he learn to face his fears? Can he ultimately go on to succeed and prosper? 

To Cross an Ocean: Apognosis is certainly a refreshingly topical tale, with its tale of love, forgiveness, spirituality and its deep, poetic insight into modern Athens and the life of illegal immigrants living under the radar.

This contemplative book will certainly lead one to ponder and introspect on a deep level, and effectively, this frustrating yet ultimately deeply rewarding tale is a truly captivating read that will leave you thinking about it long after you’ve slipped it back onto that dusty, old book shelf

About The Author
Chris Angelis

Chris Angelis was born in Athens, Greece and he currently lives in Finland. Chris has an MA in English Literature from the University of Tampere, also completing a PhD at the same university. He is a published author with Empiria Publishing, and he has also worked as a journalist and translator.

As a literary fiction writer, common themes in his work include the repressed past, the impossibility of choices, flawed men and determined women.

Currently available at Amazon for $8.99 (paperback) or $4.95 (Kindle version), you can check out To Cross an Ocean: Apognosis via the button below. Furthermore, you can check out all of Chris’s other works over at Amazon here

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