I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from the publisher. Tatouine will be released in September, 2020.
We all find ourselves lost in our dreams and fantasies when the reality we exist in gives grief and heartache. We turn to the story lines of other cultural products – TV shows, movies, books, – to imagine a better existence for ourselves. In some cases that is helpful and in other it is harmful escapism. And that is the world we witness with Jean-Christophe Réhel’s unnamed character in the novel Tatouine .
“I should come up with the ideal planet, just for me. I’d call it Tatouine, almost the same as the real one, but just different enough. This planet really is my soul mate. It could be my totem. My star sign. I don’t wan to be a Taurus any longer; I want to be a Tatouine.”
There is something ‘novel’ about this slice of existence that Rehel has shown us with this character in this book. We witness him travel through hospitals, low-paying jobs, odd living arrangements, bad alcohol and even a vomit-filled Christmas celebration where he embarrasses family and friends. But in this well-phrased slice of existence, Rehel has documented a reality of the human condition, where one is dreaming is of a more noble existence but unable to climb to that reality.
“My nose starts bleeding, both nostrils at once. It’s never happened to me before. I’m dying, clearly. I pinch my nose and run out to the desk. An orderly spots me making my way down the hall and tells me I’m not allowed out. “Sir! You’re in isolation , sir!” “Yo, my nose is bleeding!” I’ve never said “yo” in my life. It sounds completely absurd; it must be the stress. I keep heading for the desk. I hear the woman shout, ‘You have to go back to your room, sir!’ I’m still pressing down hard on my nostrils, but the blood keeps coming. It’s getting everywhere. I’m leaving a trail behind me. I want to die. Where are the sharks?
There is a unique and sometimes funny take on an element of the human condition in Jean-Christophe Réhel’s novel Tatouine. It is a light read but one that is memorable. And it is certainly one of my favourites of this year.