Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Mark Sneed for Reader Views (05/2021)
I was a little hesitant to dive into “Begotten” by Joseph Crew at first. As it suggested it was a timely subject matter with regards to the impacts of immigration concerns plaguing Europe and the United States, I had to dispel my preconceptions. Thankfully, I did.
“Begotten” is a surprising tale which begins with a professor in Germany about to divorce his wife amidst his burgeoning love for a college student. The story changes gears when the professor is asked, out of the blue, to drive a car to Turkey. There is all sorts of drama in Turkey including the professor’s developing love for a mysterious Kurdish woman. The story is complicated and intriguing. The characters are riveting. The writing is lively. What I enjoyed most about “Begotten” was Crew’s ability to leave space to imagine. He does not detail every item in a room. He allows the reader to picture and populate the background information. It is not an easy balance, but Crew does it well.
The cultural element of Begotten is ever present. The handling of the attraction between the professor and the three women he professes his love for is tender and unavoidable. I loved the lofty conversations between characters. I also found myself listening to what was not being said when the professor spoke with the Kurdish woman he had fallen in love with and the questionable past.
The slam on Begotten is the high-brow element of the novel. I do not mind a bit of snobbery, but the story boils down to a professor who only loves incredibly bright women. Not everyone is going to be a professor, but in “Begotten” everyone this professor loves is. A little predictable. I wanted a little more unexpected attraction and possibly, after the first two, a belief there was a little “opposites attract” or at least not another professor to be attracted to the main character. No such luck.
Still, “Begotten” is an intriguing story full of action and detail set in a tumultuous time period that fans of thriller and historical fiction will enjoy.