When Wolf got in touch many months ago to ask me for any advice that may help him with the writing and publication of his debut novel, I told him quite bluntly that for a writer to achieve something special, they have to bleed for their craft. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t actually believe writing a book is as goliath an achievement as most make it out to be. Anyone can write a mediocre volume. But to produce something into which you’ve poured the very workings of your soul, in the process burning great swathes of time in pursuit of something meaningful and which may truly resonate with people – that’s an achievement.
It’s my belief that Wolf has achieved just that.
Atlas Loved follows protagonist John Holloway, an author whose past has irrevocably scarred him and left him wondering what purpose his life could have, save for self-destructive ruminations on the events that led to his dark state.
The narrative is split between present-day counselling sessions where Holloway attempts to make sense of the burning embers he’s left in his wake, and the actual events of his life he so regrets. True to the style of Fitzgerald, one of Wolf’s literary heroes, the novel attempts to explore the bohemian excesses of artists, and the price they may pay for their trailblazing hedonism. And yet this is a story that takes its time, once again staying true to Wolf’s influences. Upon reviewing my own novel, he was generous enough with his words to describe my prose as having ‘finesse and elegance’. Having read Atlas Loved, I am now of the belief there are few more qualified to propose such an assertion than this author.
It’s a relief to read a work so unhindered by the modern-day pressures authors are under for every sentence to crudely grab the reader and brutishly push the action forward. This had an air of classicism to it, calling to my mind the meandering meditations of Shelley or Byron. This is a bold stylistic decision for Wolf to have made, and I applaud him for it.
So congratulations to Wolf for this deeply emotional novel that digs deep into the human condition, and the mental anguish that can come with it. Thank you also for the mention in the acknowledgements section, and your recalling of our “bleeding for the craft” conversation. It’s always a pleasure to correspond with you, and an even greater pleasure to have inspired this fine novel.
Keep up the great work!