LAMENT FOR THE FALLEN The Great Escape
released OUT NOW! 378 pages | Hardback/ebook Author Gavin Chait Publisher doubleday
The line between “general literature” and genre fiction is getting thinner every day, and the latest book to explore this territory is Lament Of The Fallen, a book that’s unashamedly sci-fi but is also being marketed as similar to recent work by literary authors like David Mitchell and Michel Faber.
It’s to debut author Gavin Chait’s credit that the book is often strong enough to support these comparisons. His story explores a convincingly realised future world, as a self-sufficient West African community is disrupted by the sudden arrival of an augmented escapee from an American orbital prison. This escapee’s quest to return home forms the backbone of the plot. Around this Chait has crafted lyrical prose and imaginative world-building.
For its first three-quarters, the book is gripping, powerful and frequently impressive – which makes it all the more frustrating that Chait doesn’t stick the landing, instead losing the delicate focus of the earlier chapters in favour of a broader perspective and some oddly bombastic action. Still, while the flaws are hard to ignore, this remains an ambitious and intelligent work that marks out Chait as a writer worthy of further attention. Saxon Bullock
The book was worked on for over 30 years, with the first version written when Chait was just 12 years old.