Kildare Press, LLC (2018)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (12/18)
“The Tragedy of Beauty” by Kildare is a touching story that follows Dylan Erickson, a half-Chippewa, half-white, seventeen-year-old, coming-of-age in the town of Snowden, a small, dying reservation town in North Dakota. Dylan treasures life in Snowden with the dense woods, large fields, wide open skies and cherished friends. When an oil boom hits, thousands of workers migrate to the rural communities in the area and soaring housing prices, increases in drug traffic and crime overwhelms authorities and threatens the status quo, affecting changes never imagined. It’s not the oil boom however, that changes Dylan’s life forever, but a fatal accident caused by his own hand. Dylan’s struggles to cope with the accident and find meaning in life, and he takes readers on a journey both haunting and beautiful at the same time.
The story is poignant and striking, eliciting an expansive range of emotions as I was pulled deeper and deeper into the plight of Snowden and its colorful characters. The author writes with an elegance and flow that cleverly commands your attention and stimulates your imagination. Kildare lays out picturesque sceneries with imagery so vivid and crisp it was easy to picture life in the small town of Snowden. The clarity he brings to the various relationships and the intensity of the storyline keeps the reader engaged and invested in the outcome. The camaraderie between Dylan and his friends induced deep feelings of nostalgia as I was brought back to my own coming-of-age years when friends were everything and life was simple, though it often didn’t feel like it at the time.
Dylan is a genuine character – sometimes likable, sometimes not, and it was an enlightening journey to watch him go from a carefree, impish, devil-may-care teen, to the insurmountable circumstances that caused him to grow and evolve.
The ending was totally unexpected but absolutely perfect for the story. Unforgettable, is probably the best word to describe my reading experience and I highly recommend “The Tragedy of Beauty” by Kildare. It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a moving story and I’m sure it will linger in my mind for some time to come.