And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer
The story itself balances on the edge of convention. The main character, Timmy, is a skinny, middle-age pharmacist who works at the local Walgreens. The opening portion of the story sets up the monotony that is the life of Timmy Enosh. Each day, he wakes up before dawn and heads out to pick up Alex, a high school student who tosses newspapers from Tim's truck. After their morning paper route is complete, he drops Alex off at the bus stop and proceeds to have breakfast at Roxie's, a small diner.
We learn of Tim's obese wife who seems to use him as a personal butler more than a husband. It is no wonder then that Tim finds himself attracted to Roxie, the owner of the diner where he eats his breakfast each morning. In his mind, Tim fantasizes about the life he could have with Roxie, but per routine, he doesn't act on these feelings. Instead, he goes to his job at Walgreens, continuing the monotony that is his life.
Soon this predictability becomes too much for Tim to handle. In a radical shift of self-discovery, he begins to do things that make him happy. He buys marijuana from his paper route partner, Alex, decides to act upon his feelings for Roxie, and moves back in with his overprotective mother. But is all this change for the good, or is it the early sign of Tim's slow descent into madness?
I was very impressed with this novella. By following the actions of one character, Umenhofer creates a story that maintains a strong focus, while still being engaging. The story follows Tim chronologically, broken down by each day. I was reminded a bit of the 2002 film, One Hour Photo, where Robin Williams plays a photo technician at a store, similar to Walgreens. In the movie, he too becomes disenchanted with the routine of his life and turns violent. In Umenhofer's tale, readers are guided into the mind of Tim the pharmacist and become so involved that it is hard to discern reality from fantasy. The story ends with a kind of twist ending that made me question every conclusion I had drawn to that point. With this novella, Umenhofer has proven his competency as a writer, and I look forward to seeing what he produces in the future.
For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.
To purchase the book, visit http://www.lanceumenhofer.com/buy-the-book.html
(2013: week 17, book 15)
This entry was posted on Monday, April 22, 2013 and is filed under And the Soft Wind Blows,Book Review,Character Study,Drugs,Giveaway,Lance Umenhofer,Madness,Medicine,Novella,Routine,Short Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.